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Tonkawa Trading Post is an Inviting and Fresh Travel Plaza in Oklahoma

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.

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Tonkawa Trading Post in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, is the third of Saqib Anwar’s travel center locations and his newest. Tonkawa Trading Post is another example of how owner Saqib Anwar uses clear, catchy signage to bring in multiple customer types. 

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The location, which is branded Roady's, has robust food offerings, and Anwar, like all wise retailers, understands there are different types of food consumers. There is a significant grab-and-go food presence as well as branded quick-service restaurants, an A&W and Papa John’s Pizza. In all my travels this is the first time I have seen a Papa John’s Pizza in a travel store, or maybe I should say the first time I have noticed one. If that is the case, it is all because of the exceptional signage. 

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The signage for the food offerings is beyond outstanding as mentioned above. Another example is the signage in the coffee and milkshake areas, which do such a great job of marketing the offerings. In general from outside to inside signage is very strong. 

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There are other small details that add to the overall appearance, such as the Coke and Pepsi display being elevated. This helps draw attention to it and operationally it is easier to clean with no dirty base wrap to consistently remove or worry about.

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From an architecture perspective, the store is very clean and inviting. There isn’t a lot of clutter or confusion, and customers really benefit from the clear, simple messaging.  

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The store really pops and especially pops at night. It is a great example of an inviting and fresh location.

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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.

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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.