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Truckstop Travels: Clearwater Petro Speaks to All the Senses

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Truckstop Travels


Wendy Johnson, vice president of operations for Clearwater Travel Plaza, and her team operate one fantastic travel center!

The independent Petro franchise location, which is located northwest of Minneapolis and is owned by Joel Nelson, is filled with the traditional travel center amenities and products.

Even better, this location also indulges all the senses. Your ears, your eyes and your sense of smell are treated to a smorgasbord of delights. My favorites are the hand-crafted sandwiches, the amazingly tasty homemade breads of many fanciful flavors and the exceptional bakery products.  





But it is the way the location embraces the seasons and the local surroundings as part of the marketing strategy that set this location apart from so many other well executed and operated travel centers throughout the USA.

While many locations understand the importance of seasonal marketing and do a rather good job of it, seeing Clearwater in action is special.




Fall is a particularly appealing time to visit the location.

From the minute you approach the location, your eyes feast on giant pumpkins placed out in front inviting you inwards. The scenic decor coupled with the smell of fresh pumpkin pastries and the like add to the experience, plus your ears are treated to the sounds of laughter and joy.

All of this together makes for an exceptional visit.





/// 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: 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.