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FireLake Grand Travel Plaza Caters to Its Customers

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.

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FireLake Grand Travel Plaza in Shawnee, Oklahoma, excels in service, and the management makes sure they take care of their customers. 

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One thing that stands out about this location is how they differentiate between and understand their different customer types. They are not afraid to offer multiple food options because they know different customers want different things. 

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They have a Subway, and their diner/deli that sells hamburgers and fried foods. Like a lot of NATSO members, they find customers are drawn to food from the diner.

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FireLake does a nice job with its proprietary, in-house food offerings, and give foods a fresh, hand-crafted appearance. They take a lot of products, such as puddings and donuts, in the back to make them their own and before putting them in cases. The extra step emphasizes that the food is fresh and makes it more appealing to customers. 

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They also have a good coffee program with multiple options, which appeals to different types of coffee drinkers.  

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The front of the store is very, very simple even though there is a lot going on in inside the location. It is not overly cluttered and the restrooms are clean, which is so important in our industry. The location is unbranded and does a lot of diesel business. 

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FireLake is part of the Potawatomi Nation and has a huge, gorgeous casino in the back that offers drivers a unique opportunity to relax and be entertained. The casino also has a lot of food options for the drivers and traveling public 

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The location is a prime example of optimizing space, providing the right mix of food offerings and catering to your customers. 

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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.


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.