Related Content

Browse by Category

Browse by Date

Most Comments

Most Active

Recent Comments

Newest Posts

Simmons Travel Center Finds Success Focusing on its Customer and Product Mix

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.

Simmons Sign-Outside.jpg

Simmons Travel Center is a good looking operation that does all sorts of things well. One area where they really excel is mixing truck and four-wheel traffic. They have focused on understanding each of the two customer groups and have found several ways to mix them successfully in one operation. 

Simmons Fuel Desk.JPG

They’ve created clear spaces where each customer group should go, eliminating confusion and making car customers comfortable. They also have a good array of diesel lanes and plenty of parking along with strong Wifi coverage in the parking lot. 

Simmons Fuel Pumps.JPG

Inside the store, they have a well laid out design, making the store easy to shop. It is broken up into departments, which can make it easy for shoppers to find what they are looking for. This is an older location that underwent an exceptional remodeled, which improved the flow of traffic. Even more importantly, the new layout has helped grow sales.

Simmons Salty Snacks.JPG

They’ve also tried to reach out to female customers, which is something we don't always do in this industry. When a female shopper walks in the store, she can look around and comfortably see throughout the location and there is pleasant music playing. Shoppers can also clearly see the location has gifts, novelties and apparel. Plus, Simmons is well lit, and the restrooms are very clean and well managed.

Simmons Grab-n-Go.JPG

Shoppers, including truck drivers, walk through the store to get to different products, such as coffee and fresh foods, and to reach the location's Dunkin Donuts. This added foot traffic can create an opportunity for drivers to see more products. Simmons has done a good job with using end caps and focal points to draw attention to products. Because there is a percentage of truck drivers that will never leave the diesel counter, the location is considering adding food items, such as pizza or chicken wings, at the fuel desk to meet drivers' grab-and-go needs.

Simmons Dunkin Donuts.JPG

In addition to having a Dunkin Donuts, the location has a Huddle House restaurant on the lot, giving customers a sit-down dining option.

Simmons Dunkin Donuts Cafe Seating.JPG

Simmons also does a great job managing inventory within the store and stocks what customers are buying. They don’t have a lot of excessive inventory, nor do they have every SKU under the sun, but they have the product mix that suits their customers. 

Simmons Beverage Cooler.JPG

This location is the perfect example of how effective a remodel can be and proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good return on investment. 

RequestaVisitBanner.jpg

/// Did you know most weeks you can find me visiting a NATSO member truckstop location, spending three to four days, using my merchandising and operations expertise to help them grow their business? I periodically share about those great retailers I visit here on the blog. Read more Truckstop Travels here.   

Photo Credit: Kimberly Roberts/NATSO

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.