Jeffrey Webb (left) is the general manager of Love's Salisbury, NC, location and he reports to Bill Stanton (right), one of Love's district managers. Love's operates some 320 locations across 39 states, broken down into 6 divisions with 5 district managers per division. Each district manager typically is responsible for 8 locations, noted Stanton, with his located in Virginia and North Carolina.
Love's Salisbury location is what's called a "180" facility, with gasoline and diesel fueling islands set 180 degrees apart. Love's also uses what it calls a "90" design, with diesel pumps located at a 90 degree angle from the gasoline island. The gasoline island at Love's Salisbury facility seen here features 8 pumps with 16 fuel dispensers.
Love's Salisbury location sits on 10 acres, with the main building at the site (seen here) comprised of 11,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space.
Chester's Fried Chicken is one of two restaurants located at Love's Salisbury facility, the other being McDonald's.
As part of its effort to meet as many conceivable motorist needs as possible, Love's Salisbury location dispenses propane.
District Manager Stanton will typically visit each store in his territory for 2 days every month. On the first day of a standard visit, he'll walk the facility to ensure everything - even the tire air dispenser seen here - is in good working order. The second day is spent reviewing action plans for the location to ensure customer needs are being met.
Love's Salisbury Travel center offers 9 diesel pumps capable of serving 18 trucks at any given time. Long-handled window cleaning "squeegees" are in abundance at each pump.
Currently just diesel fuel and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) are available for big rigs at Love's Salisbury location but the company is in the process of offering compressed natural gas (CNG) dispensers at many of its locations as well. In particular, the company is moving to add 'fast-fill' CNG dispensers with 4 currently in place - 3 in Texas and 1 in Oklahoma - with another 12 expected to be added over the next year and a half.
Love's offers 85 truck parking spaces at its Salisbury location.
Curbs get inevitably scuffed by thousands of vehicle tires and so they get re-painted every six months to keep them highly visible.
The 2-bay tire and light maintenance shop at Love's Salisbury facility is staffed with 8 technicians with 3 of them dedicated to light mechanical work. When not busy taking care of trucks and trailers, those techs do the mowing and weeding around the travel center to keep it looking sharp.
Founded in 2001 as a sister company to Love's, Gemini Transport operates a fleet of 400 mostly Freightliner Cascadia tractors and employs some 600 drivers to deliver fuel to its national travel center chain.
Love's operates 190 shops - which it calls Tire Care Centers - across the U.S., with most co-located at its truck stop sites. About 70 of them provide light mechanical offerings in addition to tire-related services.
The shop at Love's Salisbury location can store up to 600 tires, stocking most types and brands including: Bridgestone, Firestone, Aeolus, Michelin, Michelin Retreat Technologies, BF Goodrich, Goodyear, Continental and Yokohama
Love's Salisbury truck stop is one of 1,500 places nationwide where the CAT Scales weighing service is offered.
Love’s agreed to buy 25 new Freightliner Cascadia and 25 new Peterbilt trucks equipped with the Cummins Westport 12-liter compressed natural gas (CNG) engine for its fleet of fuel haulers back in March 2013. Love's has been testing the 12-liter CNG engine in one of its Freightliner fuel trucks since September 2012.
Love's also provides 24/7 road call support with its own fleet of service trucks.
At Love's Salisbury location, the gasoline and diesel "desks" are kept separate.
A critical feature of a Love's location or any truck stop for that matter: the coffee station. At Love's Salisbury site, the coffee station is located next to the gasoline "desk."
The diesel "desk" at Love's Salisbury location is always busy; the site dispenses roughly 200,000 gallons of diesel per week.
Bill Stanton points out that a wide selection of maintenance-related items for truckers - from radiator coolant to tools - sits right next to the diesel "desk" at Love's Salisbury facility.
Part of Jeff Webb's job and that of his truck stop crew is to constantly ensure goods on the store's retail shelves are neatly arranged and that nothing is out of stock. Dedicated Service Delivery or "DSD" vendors resupply the Love's Salisbury location with a wide variety of goods.
One reason Webb pays such close attention to the retail operation at Love's Salisbury location is that the company hires "mystery shoppers" who visit each of its truck stops every two weeks, combing over everything from the diesel pumps to the restaurants and stores. "It's not a 'make or break' review for our facilities," Stanton noted. "Rather they give us an 'outside perspective' to help us spot things we may be missing."
In the storage area at the Love's Salisbury location, retail items and even snack foods are often arranged on easy-to-move mobile displays to speed up store restocking efforts.
Typically Love's tries to conduct what it calls a "soft opening" for new locations like the one in Salisbury, with no promotions or advertising in order to give its workers a week to get adjusted to the flow of business. But Webb noted the Salisbury location's pace got frantic right from its opening in April this year in large part because it sits right up against I-85; one of North Carolina's busiest interstates.