Love's in the Time of Christmas

Travel stops offer shopping convenience, variety for professional drivers

Love's fragile leg lamp christmas story

OKLAHOMA CITY -- "Retro revamped" is the focus of this year's special stock of Christmas merchandise at Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores nationwide. The Love's network of stores is gearing up for a busy holiday season with more than 100 gift items in stores.

Love's carries a variety of gifts and electronics throughout the year, but the effort is strengthened over Christmas as a way of better serving professional drivers.

"We understand that for many of our customers who are professional drivers, stopping at a Love's might be the best opportunity they have to buy toys and gifts for their children and families. When this company started nearly 50 years ago, the goal was to put customers above all else. Offering the things they need to ensure that they have a memorable holiday is something we enjoy doing," said Tom Love, founder and CEO of Love's.

More than 300 Love's locations feature items like the original fighting Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, Retro Slinky and Electronic Superslam Basketball. A life size 40-inch leg lamp made popular by the movie A Christmas Story rounds out the throwback theme. Various other popular gifts, like blankets, apparel and other toys, for people of all ages can be found on the retailer's shelves.

Although the bulk of the holiday shopping season at stores is done in the few weeks leading up to Christmas, the Love's merchandising team begins preparing for the extra wave of shopping eight months in advance. Wade Hollis, Love's senior manager of category buyers, said a lot of research and personal thought goes into each item.

"Sometimes our life experiences tell us what's going on. Everywhere I go I'm checking people out and asking you why you bought that," he said. "I'm always looking for the next new toy fad. We also work closely with our manufacturers. If a company tells us they're spending a lot of money in advertising and media on a product, then that tells us that's the new buzz thing and we want to have that available for our customers."

Popular 2013 Christmas items:

  • Mini Plush Tigers
  • 30-inch Hobby horse and unicorn with sound.
  • Fancy Puppies in a Purse.
  • Round plush animals.
  • Mattel Die-Cast Monster wheels gift pack.
  • 18.5-inch sanding stuffed penguin.
  • Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots.
  • Retro Slinky.
  • Semi-truck with construction vehicles.

Top-selling stores (ranked): Three Rivers, Texas; Las Vegas; Laredo, Texas; Tehachapi, Calif.; Benson, Ariz.; Quartzsite, Ariz.; Van, Texas; Odessa, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; and Jonestown, Pa.

Founded in 1964 by Tom Love, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores is based in Oklahoma City and remains entirely family-owned and operated, with more than 310 locations and 180 Love's Truck Tire Care centers in 39 states.