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OKLAHOMA CITY — This year will go down in the history books for Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores.
The Oklahoma City-based retailer added 47 new stores to its 40-state footprint in 2016. The portfolio expansion is the largest in a single year in Love's history. The retailer now operates more than 400 locations.
"2016 was a landmark year for Love's. By opening 47 new stores across 20 states, we surpassed 400 locations and added more than 3,000 truck-parking spaces to busy interstates and highways," said Frank Love, co-CEO of Love's. "We're committed to serving our customers in as many ways as possible and part of that is adding more locations to provide services in areas where we didn't offer coverage."
In addition to giving drivers access to more than 3,000 new truck-parking spaces, Love's added more than 220 showers at new travel stops in 2016. Amenities at all new travel stops include showers, truck parking, DEF, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and other driver services.
Love's introduced three new restaurant concepts in 2016, bringing its total number of QSR partners to 19. Love's opened two Dunkin' Donuts at the travel stops in Sikeston, Mo., and Canaan, N.Y.
IHOP Express restaurants are now featured at six Love's Travel Stops: Blytheville, Ark.; South Jacksonville, Ill.; Norfolk and Sidney, Neb.; Okmulgee, Okla.; and White House, Tenn.
The travel stop in Liberal, Kan., features Love's first Taco John's restaurant.
In the area of driver services, Love's Truck Tire Care added more than 20 facilities in 2016, bringing its total nationwide to more than 260 locations.
Love's Truck Tire Care also expanded its offerings this year to include a focus on oil changes to the motor, transmission and gear boxes. Services are complemented by preventive maintenance including fluid levels, fluid and filter quality checks and lube services.
"In addition to adding locations and services at the store level, we continue to expand in other areas. We always have our travel stop customers in mind and we look for ways to support them through other means," Fred Love said.
Love's also expanded its reach beyond the traditional travel stop business, opening seven new hotels adjacent to travel stops under nationally recognized hotel brands this year.
This year, Love's opened two Sleep Inn & Suites in Jasper, Ala., and Cumberland, Md.; two Best Western Plus hotels in Chandler, Ariz., and Hudson, Colo.; one Suburban Extended Stay in Midland, Texas; one Fairfield Inn & Suites in Burlington, Colo.; and one Comfort Inn & Suites in Sidney, Neb.
Love's now owns 11 hotels in eight states.
On the business operations front, in March Love's acquired Trillium CNG, solidifying the retailer's long-term commitment to compressed natural gas as an alternative fueling option for professional fleets invested in stable costs and sustainability.
Together, Love's and Trillium operate 65 CNG facilities.
Musket Corp., the trading and logistics arm of the Love's Family of Cos., also experienced growth this year. Musket opened seven diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) wholesale bulk rack terminals across the United States. The facilities are strategically located near Love's stores to easily provide round-the-clock access to DEF.