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Holiday Retail Sales Are Important at Truckstops Too

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail


I had the pleasure in the past three weeks to visit with owners and managers of a combination of 18 new and current member locations. I saw awesome stores with a lot of exciting happenings. I was, however, surprised to see how few of the operations had yet to prepare for the Halloween holiday let alone Christmas. We will talk Christmas on the next blog. 

With Halloween spending in 2018 expected to reach $9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, I expected to see our members getting into the holiday spending spree. Celebrants are planning to spend an average of $86.79, up from last year’s $86.13, with more than 175 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities”.

I did see a lot of Reese’s Halloween candy, which will NOT get you an extra $86.79 per customer—of that I am certain. But all joking aside, what a huge lost opportunity.

And what about preparing for winter weather. During one of those weeks I visited members that had snow, and I saw little to no focused preparation on the coming of winter. 

Our industry can move a lot of merchandise during the fall and winter months, but like any sharp retailer, you must be prepared. Take a look at your sales floor to ensure you have bulk displays of Howe’s and Power Service, half pallets of 3-pack leather palm gloves, as well as caps and scarfs complimenting your fall and winter apparel program. And if you do not already have that, get on the phone NOW and participate in the sales opportunity that is fall and winter! Remember fall runs to December 21st.  Winter is coming!

P.S. If you want to see a truckstop that is nailing holiday retail merchandising, check out my recent blog post "Trail's Travel Center is Poised to Capture Holiday Sales". Trail's Travel Center in Albert Lea, Minnesota, is more ready for winter than Jon Snow.


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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.