Love’s Travel Stops (Love’s) kicked off its 50th anniversary by declaring that 2014 would be an unprecedented year. Founder and executive chairman Tom Love announced the company would undergo a record year of building.
“I’m humbled every day by our success,” said Love. “Our unwavering commitment to our customers has been a significant force that’s driven us full-speed into the second 50 years of Love’s. We’ve never shifted focus. We’re growing so that we can meet the growing needs of our customers.”
Love’s approximate growth rate is 20 new stores per year. However, the company will exceed the norm and open as many as 30 new stores this year. Love’s will also reach another milestone when it enters into its 40th state—Maryland. The travel stop in Cumberland, Md. is projected to open this fall. Love’s is also in the midst of reinvesting in its current locations. Several stores will be remodeled and expanded and some will undergo complete raze and rebuilds. Love’s will also continue to expand its Truck Tire Care centers. Facilities will be expanded to accommodate more services. The company is also adding compressed natural gas (CNG) to select fueling stations nationwide this year. All measures highlight the company’s commitment to keep its customers’ changing needs in focus.
The Love’s story began in 1964 when Tom and Judy Love leased an abandoned filling station in Watonga, Okla. Over the years, the company has persevered through oil crises and economic downturns, proving the dedication of its employees and, at every turn, that customers value the Love’s difference. What started as a small operation in Oklahoma with a handful of employees has grown to a network of 312 stores and counting in 39 states with more than 10,000 employees. Love’s remains a family-owned company and was recently ranked ninth in Forbes Magazine’s annual listing of America’s Largest Private Companies.
Love’s locations have historically given the areas in which they build an economic boom, committing approximately $7.5 million for the build of each new store and creating up to 60 jobs at each new location. One of the company’s newest stores in St. Louis is a prime example of the company’s potential impact. The travel stop is the first major business to open in the redeveloped North Riverfront Commerce Corridor in north St. Louis. At an event on Tuesday, local officials, including St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, spoke about their hopes that Love’s would pave the way for future development.
“Many companies are still struggling due to the economy, but we’re fortunate to maintain our growth status,” said Love. “I’m proud of how far we’ve come, but this unprecedented year of building that coincides with our 50th anniversary goes a long way toward showing that Love’s has a lot more ground to cover.”
Love also said that as part of the company’s steadfast devotion to its customers, they’ll continue to innovate and offer the latest technology and services for professional drivers and that the ‘Clean Place, Friendly Faces’ Love’s is known for will remain a distinguishing characteristic.
Love’s currently operates more than 310 locations and 180 Love’s Truck Tire Care centers in 39 states.