Related Content

Browse by Category

Browse by Date

Most Active

Newest Posts

Find Inspiration and Solutions at NATSO Member Travel Plaza Locations

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 or (915) 526-5820 to learn more about the costs and details of this service.


One of my favorite things about visiting NATSO member locations is discovering best practices, creative solutions and great ideas that can benefit others in the industry. This week, I dug into our archives and have dusted off some past posts that can provide some inspiration on everything from cleaning to signage. 

Cleaning: We all know customers value cleanliness. Check out how Yellow Rose Travel Plaza in Normangee, Texas, is keeping every nook and cranny dust free. 

Landscaping: The flowers at White’s Travel Plaza in Raphine, Virginia, blew me away when I visited. Entering the White’s location you are greeted by well-groomed grass, awesome landscaping and artistically placed boulders and rocks. And then, there are the flowers! 


Communicating: Littlefield Express in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, is a perfect example of just how powerful signage can be—both inside and out. The location has mastered messaging with its outside signage setting the stage for what customers can expect and drawing them inside.

Re-Branding: When Silver’s Travel Center in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, rebranded its c-store location by franchising with On the Run by Circle K, it brought a new atmosphere to the store and led to a 15 percent increase in sales. 

Rebranding its c-store.jpg

Merchandising: Johnson and Johnson Busy Bee #25 in Live Oak, Florida, has all kind of items that you wouldn’t expect to find at a travel plaza. The location has a large number of female shoppers and offers everything from high-end jewelry and blouses to hand creams and handmade soaps that you wouldn’t expect to see in a travel center.

Creating a Theme: To succeed in retail, you have to make a location memorable and easy to shop. Dodge City Petro in Dodge City, Alabama, has done both by creating unique displays, focusing on a theme and departmentalizing the location. 

Moving Customers Through: At QuikTrip speed of service is a top priority. They have evaluated every aspect of the location and eliminated anything that slows the speed of the transaction.  

No matter what challenge you’re facing, I know someone else has an idea that can help you.

Busy Bee #25 Taffy Barrels.jpg

/// 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.


 Photos Credit: NATSO/Darren Schulte

Subscribe to Updates

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.