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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Pilot Flying J celebrated its 55th anniversary yesterday by offering 55-cent cups of coffee. Customers went to the travel center operator's website and Facebook page to receive their coupons, and then redeemed them at all of the company's North American locations.
James A. "Jim" Haslam II opened the first Pilot location in Gate City, Va., on Nov. 20, 1958. The purchase price for the four-pump station was $6,000. Today, Pilot Flying J has more than 650 retail locations and is ranked as the sixth-largest private company in America by Forbes.
"When I think about how we've grown over the years, it really is remarkable," said Haslam II. "As we reflect on 55 years in business, we recognize our loyal customers and dedicated employees, without whom none of this would be possible."
The company became Pilot Flying J on July 1, 2010, when Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J Travel Plazas entered into an agreement. Since the merger, the combined travel center operator has enhanced its MyRewards loyalty card program and launched a fast-casual concept called PJ Fresh Marketplace.
"Professional drivers are the foundation of our country, and it has always been our highest priority to help make each driver's life and job run smoothly while on the road," said Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam. "We recognize that long hours, tough driving conditions and days away from family are just some of the challenges they face each day. As we reflect on the past 55 years, we also look to the future, and we remain committed to making life better for professional drivers."
Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J and Pilot Logistics Services combined employ more than 24,000 people.