NATSO Launches Highway Business Matters

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Welcome to NATSO's first edition of Highway Business Matters — a brief semimonthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry! 

Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry.  Expect to see the next edition on the 15th of December. We'll be reaching out to you with Highway Business Matters on the 1st and 15th of each month.

Truckstops Tell Suppliers What They Want
To be the vendor that truckstop and travel plaza operators flock to, it helps to know what they’re looking for. That can vary from location to location, but NATSO found that operators keep going back to the basics — customer service and reliability. 

Bob Ryan, owner of Atlanta South 75 Truckstop in Jackson, Ga., looks for dependability and value in his suppliers. “That means we want someone who is timely and has a good product with a decent price,” he said. 

While prices do matter, they are not always the deciding factor for some operators. Ben Franklin, vice president of Grady’s Truck Stop in Pulaski, Ga., said he places more emphasis on the attention he receives than the price.

“Our convenience store and grocery items are from a local salesman who has been in the area for years. He is someone who addresses our needs when needed,” Franklin explained. 

Allen Burns, manager of West Winds Truck Stop in Green River, Utah, also works with a local supplier “who sells everything from chemicals to candy.” Burns said he likes knowing his supplier is only a phone call away. 

“Whenever we need anything, we can call them and they bring it to us. We can call anytime,” Burns said. “Even if we pay more for the product, I figure that we’re probably going to save in the long run.”

For Robin Puthusseril, general manager of the Greater Chicago I-55 Auto/Truck Plaza in Bolingbrook, Ill., interacting with suppliers is important. “I like vendors to come in and service our account, do some shelving, dust things off, and find out what is selling,” she said. 

Operators typically see their vendors as strategic partners. Kristi Palmer, manager of A.C.& Travel Center in Hagerstown, Md., appreciates the overall service she receives from her Barjan representative, who offers assistance with almost everything. “He’s been extremely helpful with returns, planograms and upselling,” she said. 

The ability to easily return unsold items is a priority for Rex Davis, president of Melvin L. Davis Oil Co. that operates Davis Travel Centers in Stony Creek and Warfield, Va. “For normal merchandise, we want to see a good profit margin on it and have the ability for the vendor to take it back and get a credit,” he said.

Scan data is also important for Davis. “We have to have the ability to have bar codes for items to scan it into the inventory and scan it out at the register,” he said, adding that he will work with smaller vendors that don’t have a universal bar code if they create one he can use within the store. 

Those interviewed told NATSO that more than anything else, they want suppliers that are interested in their account and working together to increase sales. In the next issue, we will explore strategies some industry suppliers use to satisfy customers and create a loyal following. 

Tap Into the $65 Billion Truckstop and Travel Plaza Industry
The NATSO Show 2010 provides a great opportunity to connect with decision-makers in the truckstop and travel plaza industry – an industry which is a doorway to the nation’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers and countless car and bus passengers.

Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. will host three truckstop and travel plaza Industry events -- the NATSO Show, the Barjan 2010 Trade Show and NATSN’s annual meeting -- from Feb. 27, 2010 to March 3, 2010.

NATSO expects up to 40 percent more attendees at this special 50th anniversary event. Exhibiting provides a great opportunity to build relationships with the biggest decision-makers in the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

Exhibitors must register by December 14 to receive complete exhibitor benefits, including promotion in the official Show Guide. Details are available atwww.natsoshow.org.

 {HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

Help tailor Highway Business Matters to meet your needs by sharing your feedback and story ideas. Send your input to: atoner@natso.com.

 

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
Source:
Highway Business Matters (HBM)
Retailer Featured:
A.C. & Travel CenterAtlanta South 75Grady's Truck StopGreater Chicago I-55Melvin L. Davis Oil Co.West Winds Truck Stop

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