Love’s Truck Stop plans Nov. 18 opening

Jody Conrad | Special to the Press Gazette
The new Love's Truck and Speedco is scheduled to open Nov. 18.

For the last nine months, local residents who use exit 26 on Interstate 10 have been watching the Love’s Truck and Speedco Service Center being built.

The watching ends on Nov. 18, as the facility will open its doors to the public.

Jack Ashworth is the general contracting manager for BH Bass, the construction company out of Duluth, Georgia, that built the service station.

“It’s been a typical project for us,” Ashworth said. “Even with all of the hurdles we’ve had to jump over like supply shortages and an excessive amount of rain over the summer, we’re still bringing this project to completion on time.”

There was a flurry of activity taking place at the Love's Truck and Speedco recently getting the coffee and snack area ready to go.

Ashworth, who has built 27 Love’s Truck Stops nationwide, said that he’s appreciative of the support he received from the Santa Rosa building department, especially the inspectors and plan reviewers. 

“This build has gone very smoothly, everyone here has been easy to work with,” he said.

Ashworth said he knows the Love family personally, and that they make sure their buildings are thoughtfully designed.

“Tom Love’s wife Judy is adamant that each of their facilities have a pleasant environment for women to come into as well," Ashworth said. "Love’s may cater to truckers, but they understand that women also frequent their stores, so the women’s restrooms are always designed to stand as out neat and appealing.”

Local store manager Nick Claetsch said that while the store will officially open on Nov. 18, a grand opening celebration will be scheduled for later. 

Technicians work to install the computer check-out systems.

“It takes a few weeks to get up and running at full speed, and we want to make sure we have all of the kinks worked out before we host a grand opening,” Claetsch said.

Not all in the area are thrilled with the idea of a giant truck stop on Exit 26. Bagdad resident Lee Ann Winchester said some folks are concerned about the traffic increase through historical Bagdad.

“Where is the love for Love’s?” she said. “The good news…is that the Regional Freight Network does not include CR191 through Bagdad as a designated highway of commerce.

“(Hopefully), the estimated 10 to 15 million a year in additional revenue generated …will easily fund the Bagdad Transportation and Open Space Master Plan (which was designed to) implement safety measures on the already pressured Forysth Street,” Winchester said.

Ashworth said that Bagdad should not experience any traffic increase.

“We cater to those who want to get off the interstate, do their business, and get right back on,” Ashworth said.