New Stores: Love's, Wawa, FastLane

Openings perk up communities with fresh offerings, new beginnings

TULARE, Calif. -- Stores opened recently by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores, Wawa Inc. and Fast Lane brought new cobranded foodservice, iconic proprietary brands and rejuvenation, respectively, to three communities.

Love's opened a new travel stop in Tulare, Calif., and will host a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at today in partnership with the Tulare Chamber of Commerce. The Tulare Love's employs approximately 40 people and includes Subway and McDonald's restaurants.

As part of its ongoing commitment to the people and communities [image-nocss] in which it operates, Love's will donate $1,000 each to the Visalia Rescue Mission and the Domestic Violence Shelter at Family Services of Tulare County. Love's district manager Andy House and general manager Bert Van Dyk will present checks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony to representatives from each organization.

"This location fits well with our commitment to offer a variety of amenities for professional drivers and the motoring public," said Greg Love, president of Love's development companies. "We're excited to continue our growth in California, and we're proud to donate to these two organizations, which help so many people in the community."

This is the fifth California location for Oklahoma-based Love's, according to a report in the Visalia Times-Delta. The store offers overnight parking, Internet access and shower services.

As many as 2,000 passenger vehicles and 700 trucks per day are projected to stop at the travel center, according to Tulare City Manager Darrel Pyle.

"Many of those are people who wouldn't have stopped in Tulare before," he told the newspaper.

Founded in 1964 by Tom Love, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores is based in Oklahoma City and remains family owned and operated. With more than 220 locations in more than 30 states, Love's current growth rate is approximately 15 stores per year.

Meanwhile, Wawa Inc. announced the celebration of its newest addition, a brand new convenience store with gasoline in Phoenixville, Pa. On Friday, Jan. 22, Wawa's vice president of supply chain Jim Bluebello cut the ceremonial ribbon, marking the official opening of the store, according to a report in the Phoenixville News.

To illustrate Wawa's commitment to the community, the ribbon-cutting was followed by a Hoagies for Heroes hoagie-building contest to benefit local charities.

The new Phoenixville location features Wawa's new store design prototype, including 6,100 square feet of retail space, additional gasoline facilities with 20 pumps, and Wawa's new graphic interior branded look with bold, fresh colors.

Michael Leeson will serve as general manager of the store, leading a team of 30 employees, all new positions brought to the area through the development of the store. Leeson has been with Wawa for nine years, previously managing the Spring City, Pa., Wawa store.

"We are thrilled to bring 30 new associates to Wawa from the community," Leeson told the newspaper. "We look forward to providing this community with the quality and convenience we pledge to all of our customers."

The store offers customers numerous Wawa brands, such as the award-winning Wawa coffee (more than 195 million cups sold annually); the Sizzli a a', Wawa's hot breakfast sandwich; a full-service deli; Wawa Bakery; Wawa's built-to-order hoagies (more than 52 million sold annually); and Wawa's beverage line of dairy products, juices and teas.

Wawa's branded gasoline operation includes six gasoline dispenser sections that can fuel 12 cars at once and offers customers easy access to the lot while not interfering with the convenience store, the newspaper stated.

Wawa, a privately held company based in Wawa, Pa., began in 1803 as an iron foundry in New Jersey. Today, Wawa operates more than 560 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

And the FastLane Convenience Store in Morehead, Ky., opened yesterday. For the past month, FastLane employees and vendors have been setting up shop in the former Appco convenience store, according to a report in the Morehead News.

"We will carry alcohol. We will have chips and snacks. We will have small pizzas, breakfast biscuits. We will have sandwiches," vice president of operations James Mills told the newspaper. "We will have convenience-store items, such as tobacco products, a lot of novelty products, seasonal items, ice and propane a huge variety." The store also will sell gasoline and diesel fuel.

FastLane acquired the store as part of the bankruptcy selloff of Appalachian Oil's Appco convenience stores in 2009. Mills said the company has a 40-year lease on the building.

"It was available," he said, explaining why the location was chosen. "We have two very successful locations in Morehead. We like Morehead. My boss Jim Booth, the owner, has a lot to do with Morehead State University. He is a big supporter of the college. He graduated from Morehead State. With 30,000 cars going by, we just think this is a win-win situation for us and the community."

FastLane has been in business for nearly 30 years. The company has 19 tobacco stores, 17 convenience stores, six fast-food restaurants, including Papa John's, KFC, Taco Bell and three Subways. FastLane stores are primarily in Kentucky. The company has two locations in West Virginia. FastLane stores are owned and operated by Warrenton Oil Co., Warrenton, Mo.