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    Flying J Targets Aggressive Growth

    Expansion plans begin with an $8-million travel plaza in southern Illinois.

    MADISON, Ill. -- Flying J Inc. will build its first travel plaza in southern Illinois at the Gateway Commerce Center. The $8-million facility will offer fueling, dining and lodging, and is expected to open later this year, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

    Mike Miller, project director for Flying J, said the company intends to open 20 new locations a year for 15 years. The company currently operates 135 stores in 38 states and Canada.

    "Gateway is an ideal site for our first travel plaza in southern Illinois. It has excellent interstate access and the infrastructure to begin construction at any time," Miller said.

    The plaza will employ approximately 100 people. An 18,000-square-foot building will include a full-service, 24-hour restaurant, two fast-food restaurants, a convenience store, 16 private showers, a computer room, phones and laundry facilities. Flying J is contemplating a hotel for the second phase of development.

    Gateway Commerce Center is a 2,300-acre business park being developed in Madison, Ill.

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