Love's Travel Stop is on the way.
Construction on the gas station, truck stop, restaurant and country store combination has begun on the 8.3 acre site next to the Waffle House north of Interstate 20 at Exit 172.
According to Jenny Love Meyer, director of public relations for Love's Travel Stop, construction at the company's new Thomson location began on May 24 and is scheduled for completion by November.
The 7,770 square foot store will include a game room, showers for truck drivers, a gift shop and six double-sided islands for gas. According to Ms. Meyer, Subway and Chester Fried Chicken restaurants will also be located within the store.
"It will have all the amenities for the motoring public, whether it be auto or RV or truck," Ms. Meyer said.
The company plans to transfer a general manager in from another location. After that, the other 35 employees will be hired locally.
Not only does the new store hope to attract motorists from I-20, they also hope to sell gas and food to locals.
"We definitely want to offer fuel at a very competitive price," Ms. Meyer said. "Our motto is é─˛Clean places, friendly faces.' We try to have a real great looking store environment with friendly people."
The Oklahoma-based Love's Travel Stop started in 1964 and is still family owned. There are currently 185 Love's locations across the country.
Late last year, McDuffie County Commissioners came to a compromise that allowed the company to make the $5 million investment at the Exit 172 location. Commissioners nearly balked at the proposed 1,068 square foot sign at 175 feet tall.
Both were well over the current sign ordinance's maximums of 112 square feet and 30 feet tall.
Commissioners liked the possible $100,000 in sales tax money the store could generate and approved a variance to allow the Love's sign to be 1,000 square feet and 95 feet tall. That way the company could still attract motorists on I-20. Commissioners also agreed to consider an overlay district around interstate interchanges to allow larger signs.
"A tall sign out there on that interchange might get some additional people off that go not only to the Love's truck stop but to some of those other businesses out there," Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said during a November 2005 meeting.