Stop Watch Articles

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13 Great Ideas from NATSO Connect

November 1, 2018

13 Great Ideas from NATSO Connect

In this issue of Stop Watch, we’re featuring not one, but 13 outstanding ideas operators have shared. Operators shared their insights and best practices during the Great Ideas! Session at NATSO Connect 2018. The annual meeting is one of the highlights of NATSO’s annual gathering, and operators were able to swap ideas and learn more about what is working for their peers, get inspiration from both inside and outside of the industry and think through how they can adapt ideas to make them work for them. While ideas filled the room, here are 13 that stood out.

Meet the 2018 Bill and Carolyn Moon Scholarship Recipients

November 1, 2018

Meet the 2018 Bill and Carolyn Moon Scholarship Recipients

The NATSO Foundation’s Bill and Carolyn Moon Scholarship program is continuing to change lives, and this year, five hardworking students received scholarships they can use to advance their education. The Bill and Carolyn Moon Scholarship is awarded to industry employees and their children based on academic merit, financial need, community activities and a short essay. The recipients said the $5,000 awards will help pay for tuition, but are even more meaningful because they came from the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

Build Effective Displays at Your Truckstop [Infographic]

November 1, 2018

Build Effective Displays at Your Truckstop [Infographic]

The right displays at your truckstop can drive retail sales, create convenience and contribute to a location's atmosphere.

 Women in the Truckstop Industry: Creating a Destination for Drivers

November 1, 2018

Women in the Truckstop Industry: Creating a Destination for Drivers

The truckstop and travel plaza industry is full of outstanding operators who continually make life easier for their customers. Throughout 2018, Stop Watch would like to highlight a handful of the women who make the industry great.

Six Ways to Set Your Truckstop Apart Using Today’s Food Trends

November 1, 2018

Six Ways to Set Your Truckstop Apart Using Today’s Food Trends

Food sales continue to be a hot area for truckstops and travel plazas, and a lot of operators are turning to food service to drive incremental sales and profitability. Consumer demand is proving that not only is there is a place for food service within retail operations but also that it can drive inside traffic. “The ultimate challenge for truckstop operators and convenience-store operators, is elevating their food and creating a point of difference,” said David Henkes, advisory group senior principal at Technomic, a consulting firm that specializes in food service. “You have to think about who you are appealing to and how you’re driving them into the store. If you’re really focused on making your location a destination or bringing local consumers in as well as the truck drivers or travelers, then you have to do something different.” Stop Watch sat down with Henkes, to learn more about the food service industry and how operators can use food to differentiate themselves. Henkes shared five tips operators can embrace to set themselves apart with today’s food trends.

How to Create an Apparel Program at Your Truckstop

November 1, 2018

How to Create an Apparel Program at Your Truckstop

Apparel is a category that does well in truckstops and travel plazas if operators understand who their customers are and purchase and present merchandise in the right way. “A strong apparel program is an opportunity to increase profits,” said Darren Schulte, vice president of membership for NATSO. “When done correctly in our industry, apparel can have margins of 50 to 100 percent profit depending on what types of products you’re selling and what you buy.”

Thank You For The Opportunity To Serve As Your Chairman

November 1, 2018

Thank You For The Opportunity To Serve As Your Chairman

For the past three years I have had the privilege of serving as chairman of NATSO’s board of directors, and I have so many thoughts and memories as my term comes to a close. I am grateful for the many relationships and connections I’ve made not only as chairman, but also as a NATSO member. I attended my first NATSO trade show in New Orleans 1989 and my affinity for the association and the members has continually increased since then.

Foundation Brings Fun Run to NATSO Connect 2019

October 26, 2018

Foundation Brings Fun Run to NATSO Connect 2019

Pack your running shoes for NATSO Connect 2019! New this year, the NATSO Foundation is bringing a Fun Run to NATSO Connect 2019 as the yeary fundraiser. The NATSO Foundation Fun Run will be Monday, February 11 at 7:00 a.m.

Host a Driver Event Like Shell Rotella SuperRigs

September 1, 2018

Host a Driver Event Like Shell Rotella SuperRigs

White’s Travel Plaza hosted the 36th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs event in June. White’s, which is owned by NATSO member Bobby Berkstresser and located on I-81 in Raphine, Virginia, is always a popular location, and when you add a spectacular event like the Shell Big Rigs, it becomes even more of a draw.

Bowlin Travel Centers Has Been Offering All the THINGS for More Than 100 Years

September 1, 2018

Bowlin Travel Centers Has Been Offering All the THINGS for More Than 100 Years

Bowlin Travel Centers, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been serving the traveling public in the Southwest for more than 100 years. Today the travel center company is led by President and CEO Michael Bowlin and has grown considerably since it started as a single-store operation in New Mexico.

Truckstop Amenities: What to Add and What to Reconsider [Infographic]

September 1, 2018

Truckstop Amenities: What to Add and What to Reconsider [Infographic]

Truckstop amenities are changing.

Seven States Eye Tolls

September 1, 2018

Seven States Eye Tolls

We all know that America’s infrastructure needs improvement. As time passes, it becomes more and more urgent for our elected officials to decide how best to finance the repairs and maintenance of the nation’s roads and bridges. Unfortunately, far too many continue to consider placing tolls on existing interstates. Tolling is a failed policy. New tolls waste revenue, double tax drivers, create traffic diversion and severely hurt local economies. Our nation simply cannot afford for tolling to become synonymous with transportation financing.

Minimize Risk with the Alternative Fuel Council's Biodiesel Fuel Quality Plan

September 1, 2018

Minimize Risk with the Alternative Fuel Council's Biodiesel Fuel Quality Plan

Earlier this year, NATSO launched the Alternative Fuels Council to help operators understand alternative fuels markets, including available government incentives, to effectively incorporate alternative fuels into their supply offerings.

Boost Truckstop Sales with Today's Hot Categories

September 1, 2018

Boost Truckstop Sales with Today's Hot Categories

Although there is no magic bullet for winning customers and increasing each transaction, truckstop and travel plaza operators said they are seeing tremendous success in certain categories, but what is hot today isn’t always what has sold in the past.

From a Cash Register to Capitol Hill: Robin Puthusseril Helps Advance the Industry

September 1, 2018

From a Cash Register to Capitol Hill: Robin Puthusseril Helps Advance the Industry

When Robin Puthusseril, vice president and co-owner of The Greater Chicago I-55 Truck Plaza, was just six years old, she stood on a milk crate to run the cash registers in her family’s grocery business. Today, she is using her expertise to help guide the family’s travel plaza, and she is sharing her insight to help the entire industry. Puthusseril recently testified before Congress on behalf of NATSO and truckstop and travel plaza operators nationwide during a House Committee hearing titled Advanced Biofuels Under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Our Truckstop Employees Are Our First Customers

September 1, 2018

Our Truckstop Employees Are Our First Customers

All across the country, unemployment levels are hitting record lows. In some communities, unemployment rates are as low as 2.5%, and while that is good news for the economy, it can make it harder and harder for business owners to find the top-quality employees they need. We are all aware of the massive driver shortage, but fleets aren’t the only ones facing a lack of workers. Many truckstops and travel plazas are as well. The help situation is critical in all of our locations. We have to attract and retain top talent in order to keep our customer-service levels high.

Quicklee's Travel Center is Off to a Great Start

July 1, 2018

Quicklee's Travel Center is Off to a Great Start

Quicklee’s Travel Center in Avon, New York, was founded by Peter Bruckel, Quicklee’s president and managing member. Bruckel started in the petroleum industry in 1995 when he opened a gas station on land adjacent to his industrial bridge painting company.

Pride Stores Excels at Social Media

July 1, 2018

Pride Stores Excels at Social Media

Pride Stores LLC, headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts, put an extra emphasis on its online presence by hiring a social media manager. After almost two years, Chris Szarek has grown the company’s digital profile by strategically using Google business tools, Facebook and more.

Get Consumers to Travel Through Your Whole Truckstop Store

July 1, 2018

Get Consumers to Travel Through Your Whole Truckstop Store

During the Good to Great Session at NATSO Connect, the other panelists and I shared our thoughts on what drives traffic through a location. What was interesting was that we all had slightly different ideas. That shows how important it is for operators to really understand who their current customers are and, if they are looking to attract different ones, find the solution that is best for that specific location.

Three Generations of Women Create Success at Coffee Cup Fuel Stops

July 1, 2018

Three Generations of Women Create Success at Coffee Cup Fuel Stops

Jane Heinz started her journey into the truckstop and travel plaza industry when she married into it 36 years ago. Since then, she has worked side-by-side with her husband, Tom, to open new Coffee Cup Fuel Stops stores and train people to run them. She also has done everything from serving as general manager to handling the merchandising, and together she and Tom have created a thriving business that now includes their children and grandchildren.

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