Innovation at Fontana Truck Stop Center

Located in one of the most popular trucking corridors in the U.S., Fontana Truck Stop Center is primed for success. But they are not resting on their laurels waiting for drivers to come. Instead, since opening in 2004, they are continuing to implement a number of Great Ideas.

Given the history of Fontana Truck Stop Center in Fontana, California, some people may view it as brand new. The location underwent a major renovation in 2004 thanks to its new owners, but that hefty initial investment hasn’t stopped the company from continually growing and changing to bring more services for their customers.

“When we took it over in 2004 it was an old truckstop that was run out of a shack with four islands on four acres. It was all gravel,” said Abdul Mardini, Fontana Truck Stop Center general manager.

But it was in a great location and was a good size, according to Mardini. “It was a dream come true for myself and my partner, company founder Bill Tabbaa, to have such a big space. It took three years to finish rebuilding it. We did everything new,” he said.

They didn’t stop there. “We are always looking for more expansions. The truckstop business is expanding and growing,” said Mardini.

This eye towards innovation has resulted in the addition of compressed and liquefied natural gas, diesel islands with bulk diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), two scales and even propane gas.

They partnered with a company to add the natural gas, being sure to take advantage of government incentives. “With the alternative fuels coming out now, a lot of companies are switching to CNG and acquiring natural gas trucks, especially in California,” Mardini said.

Mardini said it is paying off. “We chose the right the time to add it as it is doing very well. We did the right thing,” he said.

They added the services after listening carefully to their customers’ needs. “We are always talking to our employees and cashiers to learn about what drivers need and are complaining about. When we were renovating in 2007, we made it our mission to sit behind the cashier to hear what drivers wanted,” Mardini said.

This focus on the customer has paid off. “This makes the customers very happy as they get what they need. Now our brand growth from word of mouth is very strong. We don’t wait if we hear of a need. Instead, we get it right away,” he said.

Mardini had several examples of services added by request. They included Western Union, a drop box for mail and a check cashing service.

They have also added new products. “We’ve added truck parts that were requested for their trailers. If they ask for special food, we also get that,” Mardini said.



This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations.

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Amy Toner's photo

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son. More
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