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 email@example.com or (915) 526-5820 to learn more about the costs and details of this service.
Mitten’s Travel Center, an independent TA franchise location in Oakley, Kansas, is finding ways to make people wander, which is no small task when so many truckstop and travel plaza customers are rushing in to grab snacks, pick up essentials, visit the restroom and get back on the road. Customers may plan just to pop in for a minute, but they get drawn in once they stop.
The location is an oasis and is definitely set up for locals, business travelers, buses, professional drivers alike. They know they need to do things differently to be a destination location that brings customers back again and again.
A wilderness theme abounds within Mitten’s with antler chandeliers and colors used throughout the store. Mitten’s has created the Western Kansas Wildlife Travel Center at the location, which utilizes upstairs space in the travel center to display hunting trophies. It reminds me of walking through a Cabela’s.
The full-service location is exceptionally clean, has nice showers, offers a great shop and has delicious food in its restaurant. They have a Subway and a robust hot grab-and-go food program for those in a hurry. They are proving that a quick-service restaurant and full-service restaurant can co-exist because there are different types of customers that seek out each of the offerings. Those with a sweet tooth can take advantage of fresh Daylight Donuts or the saltwater taffy.
Mitten’s Java Junction carries over the hunting atmosphere with the colors and theme. Mitten’s also does a good job with their messaging both inside and out. Signage on the outside clearly identifies the amenities the location offers of their store, creating focal points, which is particularly nice in a store as large as Mitten’s.
Inside the store, they have angled their gondolas for nice sight lines. Their lighting is set in ways to highlight areas of their store, creating focal points, which is particularly nice in a store as large as Mitten’s.
/// 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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