(Updated with comments from Love’s spokeswoman on size of growth in 2019).
Love’s Travel Stops’ growth plans this year are in line to slightly more aggressive than those of 2019 and 2018.
In a prepared statement Thursday morning, the truck stop and store operator said it was going to open “up to” 40 stores this year and add 3,000 parking spots. It would also create 2,500 jobs under that expansion plan.
At the start of 2019, Love’s said its plan was to open “more than” 40 new locations. It did cross the 500-store mark last year. But a spokeswoman for Love’s said Friday that the company opened 29 locations last year with an addition of about 2,600 parking spaces.
She also noted that the company does not charge for parking at any of its locations.
When it announced its 2019 plans, Love’s said it had added 35 new stores and 2,900 parking spaces in 2018. A query to Love’s on the actual number of new openings in 2019 had not been answered by publication time.
The addition of 40 Travel Stops also means the addition of that many Truck Care Centers and Speedcos, an oil and lubricant change network that Love’s purchased in 2017. Love’s also said it will open new outlets of Trillium, which specializes in compressed natural gas (CNG) sales. That division now has about 65 outlets, according to its website. Hydrogen sales are also planned through Trillium.
If the company opens up 40 stores and 3,000 parking spots, that’s a ratio of 75 spots per store. That’s roughly in line with what one gets when averaging the parking spots connected to prior store openings. For example, Love’s announced openings in 2019 included 64 parking spots in Franklin County, Ohio; 79 in Hot Spring County, Arkansas; 93 in Calhoun, Georgia; 103 in Kershaw County, South Carolina; and 60 in Tacoma, Washington.
In last year’s January announcement of the company’s planned growth, co-CEO Greg Love was quoted as saying: “The truck parking shortage is a continued focus for us, which is why we plan to add more than 3,000 truck parking spaces at new travel stops this year.”