New travel center opens in Pocahontas

By Christine Miyawa
Delta Digital News Service

POCAHONTAS – A new convenience store opened its second location in Pocahontas.

The Jordans Kwik Stop #52 is located at Highway 67 and Carter Lane in uptown Pocahontas, beside Randolph Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Unlike the current convenience store, the new travel center contains a diesel truck stop, however, no showers are included.

Although the first store is still operating, Jordan’s Kwik Stop #52 Manager Devin Soles said more people are coming into the new travel center since it opened Nov. 1.

“It’s crazy. Many people are walking in from all the doors. They say they like the store because it’s new, clean and a family environment, so it’s good,” Soles said.

The store side doors open to a lounge with black leather couches where customers can relax and watch television or sit at the dining area next to the lounge with a restaurant-style setting. The service center has four diesel pumps and over 20 spaces for big trucks to park. Soles said they take Comdata, EFS, T- check and a variety of fuel cards.

Kenny Rasmussen, a driver associate working for Crete Carrier Trucking Company said he liked the travel center because it’s clean, the workers are friendly, the center has a large parking space for trucks as well as a clearly marked truck entrance and exit.

“It’s nice to have a place to park a big truck. There are not enough places to do that. This is our first time at this center; we definitely will keep it in the memory bank for being able to park here safely,” Rasmussen said.

Soles said, “Unlike a regular truckstop, the downside to the center is we currently do not have showers for the trucker.”

A.J. Parker, a customer traveling on his way to Texas, stopped at the store to charge his phone on the available plug-ins the store provides for customers.

Soles said store 52 is the first of the Jordans’ stores to sell Big Rock Pizza in its food deli inside the store while all its other stores are selling Hunts Pizza.

“People are loving the food and pizza. Our pizza is quick and takes only three minutes to make from scratch.  Before those in the trucking business are even done fueling, we’ve made a fresh high-quality pizza. That’s hard to beat; people here are loving it,” Soles said.

He said they can custom make the pizza for a customer. The deli also makes specialty pizza with beer sauce wings. Pizza price ranges from $7.99 to $11.99.

The store offers free coffee for police officers on duty, so more police officers are visiting and helping with security.

Sara Caster, the nightshift lead at the store said it’s her first time working at a convenience store. She works with 20 other co-workers. She said the store runs three shifts.

“We get so busy at the deli; we are open 24 hours. There is a rush hour when Peco employees come to the store; they come in groups and they want hot food and energy drinks,” Caster said.

Peco is a chicken plant just a few blocks away from the store.

Caster said the minimum wage the store pays is $9.65 an hour but she is not worried about the salary competiton from Peco, which pays a minimum of over $13 an hour.

“Peco is a factory, they are mass producing and the workload is just not the same. Besides, I don’t and have not earned a minimum wage in a long time,” Caster said.

Soles said so far, the travel center filled all the employee positions.

T’Ricks, the closest convenience store is located just on the opposite side of the road to the new Jordans currently faces a lot of competition from the new Jordans Travel Center. T’Ricks also hosts the Citgo gas station. Citgo changed all its old and slow fuel pumps and replaced them with new ones a few weeks before the opening of the new Jordan’s Kwik Stop.

“The old pumps dispensed gas slowly. We went 50/50 with Citgo company on the new pumps,” Mohamed Zoro, the T’Ricks manager said.

With the more efficient fuel pumps, they may keep their old customers from running away to the new Jordans.

“Business is slow, we are headed to the holidays,” Zoro said.

Rancho Bravo, a Mexican restaurant and store also opposite the new Jordans gave its building a new face-look keeping up with the competition.

All three stores serve hot meals and are competing for the same customers, especially the customers from Peco food processing plant.

Presently, Exxon, the oil and gas company stationed at the new travel center, has a reward program giving its customers a discount of $.50 per gallon on gas. The station sells gas cheapest compared to all other fueling stations in Pocahontas.

“Everyone seems to be going to the new travel center, but, after the novelty dies down, we know they will be back,” Zoro said.

Soles said they foresee a brighter future for the travel center because it’s the only one currently in Pocahontas. They also look forward to getting a liquor license Nov. 13 and are expecting more customers to come to the store to utilize their lounge and dining area.

Editor’s Note-Feature Photo taken by Christine Miyawa

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