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Eatonton Travel Center Appeals to Multiple Customer Types

Posted in: Truckstop Travels

Editor's note: Darren Schulte, NATSO vice president of membership, frequently visits NATSO members to review their locations and offers impactful merchandising and operations improvements. Contact Schulte at dschulte@natso.com or (915) 526-5820 to learn more about the costs and details of this service.

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Shaker Sangam, owner of Eatonton Travel Center in Eatonton, Georgia, really understands who his customers are and has carefully crafted his product mix to meet their needs. Eatonton isn’t a typical travel center in that it isn’t located along the interstate, and the offerings reflect the multiple types of customers who shop there. 

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Locals are a prime customer base for Sangam, and he has embraced them along with the traditional travel center customers. 

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There is a full-service laundromat that is particularly appealing for locals. Sangam also offers U-Haul rentals.

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Eatonton Travel Center, which is an AMBEST location, has a fun selection of products and a nice assortment of wines. 

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Food is always an important part of a travel center, and Sangam has tapped into the local flavors with his offerings.  

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There are Southern favorites, including fried chicken and several types of boiled peanuts. 

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Sangam is very, very focused on the local types of food, which is a great way to serve locals while also offering professional drivers and travelers some local flair.

The whole location has a fresh feel and quality signage that helps customers move through the store.  

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/// Did you know most weeks can find Darren Schulte, NATSO's Vice President of Memebrship, visiting a NATSO member truckstop location, spending three to four days, using his merchandising and operations expertise to help them grow their business? Learn about NATSO’s Profitable Retail Review program here.

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Photos Credit: Darren Schulte/NATSO

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.