BIDWELL — Despite the recent snow and bone-chilling temperatures, Love’s Travel Stop officially opened for business Thursday at its new location on Ohio 850 near the U.S. 35 interchange.
Love’s officially opened at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, but the accompanying Hardee’s restaurant will not open until Friday morning.
Construction on the new facility began July 2014 and recently finished, although some last-minute work had to be accomplished in terms of clearing snow and ice from the property.
Kealey Dorian, spokeswoman for Love’s Travel Stop based in Oklahoma City, Okla., said the weather in southeastern Ohio presented several unexpected challenges.
“Material sitting outside needed to be cleaned off several times before we could bring it inside,” she said. “A few deliveries were 14 hours behind schedule. One of our shipments that had a lot of the store’s merchandise was supposed to arrive early Tuesday morning. Weather delayed it and it arrived Tuesday night, which drastically cut into the time we had set aside to stock the store.”
Because of the weather delays, Dorian said store employees — 60 in all, which includes both full- and part-timers — logged 16- to 18-hour days leading up to Thursday’s opening.
“Weather did cause some delays, but we have a great team who was willing to do whatever it took to make sure we opened on time,” she said.
Melissa Clark, director of Gallia County Economic Development, said she sees Love’s as a tremendous asset in terms of job growth for the county.
“We are thrilled that Love’s Travel Stop has chosen Bidwell for their newest location and we welcome the new jobs to area,” she said. “Gallia County has seen positive growth recently and we anticipate that trend to continue.”
Michelle Miller, executive director of the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, and Gallia County Commissioner Harold Montgomery each shared the same sentiment.
“We welcome Love’s Travel Stop to Gallia County and to the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce,” Miller said. “They will be a great asset to Gallia County and their generous donation ($2,000) to a local nonprofit in celebration of their opening shows their commitment to community.”
“We are excited for Love’s Travel Stop to bring new jobs and revenue into Gallia County, and anticipate their new location in Bidwell to be a catalyst for future business growth in the entire area,” Montgomery said.
Love’s has donated $2,000 to the Gallia County Snack Pack program, a nonprofit organization that fights hunger by providing area school children in need with snacks and nonperishable food items.
“It’s customary for Love’s to give $2,000 to a local nonprofit at the opening of each new store,” Dorian said. “We believe in building partnerships in the communities in which we work and live. Selecting an organization to receive a donation is the first step toward creating strong partnerships.”
The Bidwell location, operated by general manager Bob Stevenson, will be open 24 hours and offers access to gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, travel items, gift merchandise, a Hardee’s restaurant and more. The new travel stop also has 72 truck-parking spaces and a truck tire care center for professional drivers. The location, like most across the country, also offers professional drivers shower facilities.
Despite its location in Bidwell, the city of Gallipolis is providing sewer service to the new facility.
The Gallia County Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. March 3, which will include the aforementioned $2,000 donation. Tours of the new facility will also be offered before and after the program.
Article provided by Michael Johnson of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune. Mr. Johnson can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.