Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores
|Industry||Energy, Retail (Convenience stores)|
|Headquarters||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States|
|Number of locations||280+|
|Key people||Tom Love, CEO
Doug Stussi, CFO
|Revenue||$24.40 billion (2011) |
In 1964 Tom and Judy Love spent $5,000 to lease an abandoned service station in Watonga, Oklahoma, an hour northwest of Oklahoma City. They named their company Musket Corporation. Over the next 8 years Musket opened 40 additional gas stations. All of them operated under the Kerr-McGee gasoline brand.
When the fuel crunch of the early 1970s began and gasoline was in short supply in the United States, Tom Love diversified for the sake of the company's success. He launched a new concept in Watonga: the "Mini Stop Country Store." By adding a grocery line to their self-service fuel sales, Musket became one of the nation's first to offer one-stop shopping for travelers. The Mini Stop was successful and the company quickly opened more stores in western Oklahoma.
In 1972, Musket set out to convert all of its locations from gas stations to convenience stores with self-serve gasoline. By 1973, the company began using the family name to identify its locations. Love's Country Stores was the new name.
By 1978, Love's Country Stores had 60 locations in small communities throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. That year, the company began offering the Fresh Daily Deli – sandwiches made fresh daily on-location. The Fresh Daily Deli is today branded as Love's Subs. Food Service became the company's third profit center in each location, along with self-serve gasoline and convenience store items.
By the end of 1981, the company reached a milestone with 100 Love's Country Stores locations in operation. The in-store decor was changed from the previous dark country look to a brighter theme. The same year, it opened the first Love's Travel Stop on Interstate 40 in Amarillo, Texas. The travel stop opened a new target audience to Love's business; the addition of self-serve diesel fuel brought professional drivers to Love's. The Travel Stop was unique in that it served both the professional driver and the motoring public, resulting in more growth for Love's.
In 1985, Love's added gifts and novelties. Then in 1993, Taco Bell became a partner, opening a co-branded location in Oklahoma City. The success of this partnership quickly grew. In 1995, the company opened its first triple-branded food service operation in El Paso, Texas. The location offered Subway sandwiches, Taco Bell Express and Pizza Hut pizza. Additional food service required additional square footage and additional labor. For the first time, the cost of building and staffing a Love's Travel Stop exceeded $3 million.
In the late 1990s, food service continued to grow. Soon the company was partnering with an array of co-branded restaurant concepts, including Arby's, Godfather's Pizza, Hardee's, Carl's Jr., Chester's Chicken, and Baskin-Robbins.
In 2000, Sales & Marketing Executives International awarded Love's the 2000 Outlook Award, for innovation and outstanding contribution to the future of the convenience store industry.
Today Love's operates 299 stores in more than 40 states. The current growth rate is about 15 – 20 store openings each year. In 2012, Forbes Magazine ranked Love's at No. 9 on its list of America's largest private companies, with sales totalling $22.04 billion. Love's debuted on the list at No. 446 in 2000.
On June 30, 2010 Love's acquired 20 Pilot Travel Centers locations and six Flying J locations out of antitrust concerns in order for the Federal Trade Commission to approve the Pilot/Flying J merger.
Key Dates 
1964: Tom and Judy Love launch the Musket chain with a gas station in Watonga, Oklahoma.
1972: The first Country Store opens in Guymon, Oklahoma.
1978: Love's Country Stores Inc. is established.
1981: The first Travel Stop opens in Amarillo, Texas.
1986: The company is renamed Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc.
1990: Love's begins adding major branded fast-food franchises to Travel Stops.
1999: The 50th Travel Stop is opened.
2001: The company is renamed Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores, Inc.
2008: Love's rises to No. 25 on the Forbes list of America's largest private companies.
2011: Love's rises to No. 7 on the Forbes list of America's largest private companies.
2012: Love's stands at No. 9 on the Forbes list of America's largest private companies.
- name = forbes | source = http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/21/private-companies-11_Loves-Travel-Stops-Country-Stores_GZIZ.html
- "America's Largest Private Companies: #25 Love's Travel Stops". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2009)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores|
- Love's official Web site
- Forbes list of America's largest private companies
- Sales and Marketing Executives International Academy of Achievement, profile of Tom Love
- Answers.com – profile on Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores