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How to Take Advantage of Holiday Traffic at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators. The author, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, brings to NATSO a wealth of knowledge about our industry.

Join Darren here every other Thursday for his biweekly retail column.

{Great Ideas} How to Take Advantage of Holiday Traffic at Your Truckstop


Christmas is upon us. As the final weeks ramp up prior to the big event, I am certain that each of you have made plans to take advantage of any additional traffic as well as the change in weather that will be upon us soon.  If you have not already made plans, make sure you do so now. Here are just a few of the many ideas you can execute as part of your Christmas plan.

  • Retail selling space should be made for bulk stack opportunity purchases including those products that you are marking down and trying to eliminate. Do not just place these great sales drivers in a corner or down a hall!
  • Bulk stacks and other promotional focal point displays should be easy to shop, easy to identify, have the proper collateral identifying the price/item and built to create an impact.
  • Holiday and Christmas themed merchandise and products should have a scheduled mark down cadence already in place, which I suggest begin three weeks prior to Christmas. This cadence should follow through into the New Year with a goal to have all this merchandise sold by the 2nd week of January.
  • Products that are weather related should be on order for immediate arrival or already in your store. Once the weather hits, it is too late to begin ordering. If you create a solid build to program for ordering based on historical data, you can avoid much of the headaches and frustration last minute ordering creates. Of course, no system is perfect and there are always exceptions when it comes to predicting weather impact , but it helps to be prepared. Ask yourself:
    • Are your bubble jackets hot priced? Are your 3pk leather palm gloves and brown jersey gloves in dump bins ready to be purchased by the handful? Do you have windshield washes in place?  Do you have batteries for all those toys, battery cables, ice alerts, Howe’s, Power Service and the like ready to jump off the shelves? Believe it or not, those 12 volt heaters still sell when placed in the appropriate sell position.
  • Do you have something to sell that makes your customers say WOW? For example, host a Wacky Wednesday where customers who purchase two large fountain drinks, two large sandwiches and two bags of pop corn get XXXX off a gallon of fuel?
  • Are you advertising that you are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Christmas?
  • Are your Christmas decorations up? Are your Christmas donations for local charities in place?
  • Do you have local events such as pie, cookie, cake sales planned? 
  • Have you the necessary precautions in place to prevent the extra theft that comes with the holidays?

Photo Credit: Amy Toner/NATSO, Location: Kenly 95 Petro

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here

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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.