Retailer News

TravelCenters of America Signs First Franchise Agreement for TA Express

Expects to open four rebranded locations within 12 months
ta express

WESTLAKE, Ohio — TravelCenters of America LLC has signed an agreement with Heinz Inc., operator of the Coffee Cup Fuel Stops, to convert four of its Coffee Cup locations to the new TA Express brand.

TA Express is a smaller format than the chain’s traditional travel centers. It is designed to address changing trucking and distribution patterns and offers “smaller, more nimble facilities allowing drivers to fuel faster, fulfill basic travel needs and return to the road,” the company said. TA Express locations offer most of the fuel, merchandise, food and other services that professional drivers familiar with the existing TA and Petro brands expect.

TA Express stores are located in Alexander, N.D.; Walsenburg, Colo.; Brush, Colo.; and Grand Junction, Colo.

The first of four existing Coffee Cup sites that will become TA Express locations is at I-94, Exit 200, in Steele, N.D. This site was the first Coffee Cup Fuel Stop and will be the first of the four to join TA’s network of 257 travel centers in 43 states and in Canada.

Westlake, Ohio-based TravelCenters of America operates the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express travel center networks. It is No. 28 in the Top 40 update to CSP’s2018 Top 202 ranking of convenience-store chains by number of retail outlets.

The company said it expects the TA Express rebranding in Steele to take place by the end of April, with three more locations following within 12 months. The remaining Coffee Cup Fuel Stops converting to TA Express are in Vermillion, Summit and Hot Springs, S.D.

North Sioux City, S.D.-based Heinz Inc., dba Coffee Cup Travel Plazas, also plans to build two new TA Express travel centers, in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, S.D., in coming years.

“We are proud to welcome these Coffee Cup Fuel Stops to the TravelCenters and TA Express network,” said Barry Richards, president and COO of TravelCenters. “We launched the TA Express brand to provide professional drivers the benefits of our full-service network in areas where large truck stops like our TA and Petro travel centers are not feasible. These existing Coffee Cup Fuel Stops are well-suited for the TA Express brand, and we are always glad when we can expand our network and offer more amenities to our customers.”

Tom Heinz, president of Heinz Inc., is a veteran in the petroleum industry and a member of the NATSO Foundation board of directors. “We’re very eager to join the TravelCenters and TA Express network,” he said. “Being a part of the TravelCenters fueling system will allow us to participate in trucking fleet fueling contracts and grow our business in a way we weren’t able to on our own. Professional drivers and fleets trust the TA, Petro and TA Express brands, and now our travel plazas can be a part of this iconic network.”

Plans for improvements and amenities to be added to the Steele location include the addition of a Cinnabon, five more driver showers and a three-bay TA Truck Service shop. Professional drivers will also be able to earn and redeem UltraOne loyalty program points at all of the rebranded locations.

Coffee Cup Fuel Stops were co-founded by Tom Heinz in 1981, with nine travel plazas in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

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