50 Years, 40 States
Love's Travel Stops celebrating half century with growth spurt, remodeling
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. founder and executive chairman Tom Love has kicked off the company's 50th anniversary by declaring that 2014 would be an "unprecedented" year and that it would undergo a record year of building.
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, he said.
Oklahoma City-based Love's will also reach another milestone when it enters into its 40th state--Maryland. It projects its travel stop in Cumberland, Md. will open this fall.
Love's is also in the midst of reinvesting in its current locations. It will remodel and expand several stores and will raze and rebuild others.
The company also will continue to expand its Truck Tire Care centers 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. 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 Forbes magazine recently ranked it ninth in the annual listing of America's Largest Private Companies.
Love's locations give the areas in which they build an economic boom, the company said, committing approximately $7.5 million for the build of each new store and creating up to 60 jobs at each new location. For example, one of the company's newest stores 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."