Love’s Travel Stops coming to Carefree
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
On a rainy day last spring, Missi Bush-Sawtelle received a phone call from someone interested in visiting property she had listed for sale in Crawford County. She pulled on her slicker and rain boots and 20 minutes later met the person at the Carefree site.
“An hour later, we had a deal,” she said, noting the property was never listed with a Realtor.
As the result of that rainy day meeting, plans for a major change are being finalized. Love’s Travel Stops announced it will locate on 15 acres at the intersection of S.R. 66 and Interstate 64.
A statement from the Crawford County Economic Development Corp. said the travel stop is expected to be completed by late 2021.
“We are excited to join the Crawford community,” Rick Shuffield, vice president of real estate for Love’s, said in a statement. “We place Love’s in locations that are easy to access for professional and four-wheel traffic, and this is a great location to do that.”
Michael Thissen, director of the CCEDC, said, “We are really glad that Love’s Travel Stops has decided to invest in our county to add a new location and bring new jobs, especially in a challenging climate.”
Bush-Sawtelle, owner of New Salisbury-based Bush Trucking, said Love’s is a respected company.
“Love’s runs a tight ship. They’re very well-respected,” she said. “My drivers always like to stop at Love’s.”
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Love’s was founded in 1964 and today has more than 530 locations in 41 states.
The CCEDC has a marketing agreement relating to properties in the Carefree area. Bush-Sawtelle said that partnership is a great example of working together.
“Crawford County economic development is dependent on relationships that have been built with business owners and private investors,” he said.
Bush-Sawtelle praised both the economic development corporation and others involved in promoting and preparing the area for growth.
“I’m thankful for the infrastructure we have at that intersection,” she said. “We have electric, water and sewer to attract businesses.”
Regarding the new Love’s location, Bush-Sawtelle said, “I see it as a win-win. … I feel like you have to have business to attract more. I hope that happens. I feel this will bring much-needed jobs to the area.
“Change is sort of scary, but, if you’re not riding the wave of it, you find yourself beneath it,” she said.