Simmons Travel Center Finds Success Focusing on its Customer and Product Mix

Editor's note: Darren Schulte, NATSO vice president of membership, frequently visits NATSO members to review their locations and offers impactful merchandising and operations improvements. Contact Schulte at or (915) 526-5820 to learn more about the costs and details of this service.

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Simmons Travel Center is a good looking operation that does all sorts of things well. One area where they really excel is mixing truck and four-wheel traffic. They have focused on understanding each of the two customer groups and have found several ways to mix them successfully in one operation. 

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They’ve created clear spaces where each customer group should go, eliminating confusion and making car customers comfortable. They also have a good array of diesel lanes and plenty of parking along with strong Wifi coverage in the parking lot. 

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Inside the store, they have a well laid out design, making the store easy to shop. It is broken up into departments, which can make it easy for shoppers to find what they are looking for. This is an older location that underwent an exceptional remodeled, which improved the flow of traffic. Even more importantly, the new layout has helped grow sales.

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They’ve also tried to reach out to female customers, which is something we don't always do in this industry. When a female shopper walks in the store, she can look around and comfortably see throughout the location and there is pleasant music playing. Shoppers can also clearly see the location has gifts, novelties and apparel. Plus, Simmons is well lit, and the restrooms are very clean and well managed.

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Shoppers, including truck drivers, walk through the store to get to different products, such as coffee and fresh foods, and to reach the location's Dunkin Donuts. This added foot traffic can create an opportunity for drivers to see more products. Simmons has done a good job with using end caps and focal points to draw attention to products. Because there is a percentage of truck drivers that will never leave the diesel counter, the location is considering adding food items, such as pizza or chicken wings, at the fuel desk to meet drivers' grab-and-go needs.

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In addition to having a Dunkin Donuts, the location has a Huddle House restaurant on the lot, giving customers a sit-down dining option.

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Simmons also does a great job managing inventory within the store and stocks what customers are buying. They don’t have a lot of excessive inventory, nor do they have every SKU under the sun, but they have the product mix that suits their customers. 

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This location is the perfect example of how effective a remodel can be and proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good return on investment. 


/// Did you know most weeks you can find me visiting a NATSO member truckstop location, spending three to four days, using my merchandising and operations expertise to help them grow their business? I periodically share about those great retailers I visit here on the blog. Read more Truckstop Travels here.   

Photo Credit: Kimberly Roberts/NATSO

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