Cumberland Times-News

Local News

May 5, 2014

Love’s Travel center project keeps trucking after delays

CUMBERLAND — A planned travel center that will employ about 60 people and serve professional drivers, travelers and local people remains scheduled to open near Ali Ghan Road, said a spokeswoman for Love’s Travel Stop and Country Stores. Permitting issues have apparently slowed the pace of the project, and rumors have circulated in the community that the project was dead.

“The project for the new Love’s Travel Stop is still moving forward. We are working through the permitting process and we look forward to getting started on construction as soon as we are finished with that,” said Kealey Dorian, a media specialist with the company.

“They’re still working on their project. We expect to see visible progress this summer,” said Shawn P. Hershberger, of Cumberland’s Office of Economic Development. The project is located within the city limits. City Director of Engineering John DiFonzo said “we’re not looking for problems” and permitting was moving forward normally, and those included storm water drainage issues.

Allegany County Commisisoner Creade Brodie Jr. said Thursday that state highway permitting issues were slowing down the Love’s project. The Maryland State Highway Administration has said they will respond to a Times-News inquiry, and the newspaper will update the story once their comments are available.

The opening date for the center had been planned for this fall.

The plaza will be the company’s first venture in the state of Maryland, the 40th state in which the company operates. A new venture in a new state coincides nicely with the company’s 50th anniversary, Dorian has said.

“Typically, we employ about 60 people, including in the tire shop and other departments,” Dorian said in a previous interview. The center is expected to include a Subway and McDonald’s. A tire shop will be aimed at professional drivers, but the rest of the center is designed for use by everyone, Dorian said. The company puts a great deal of study into locating travel stops and the Cumberland location met the criteria, Dorian said.

The travel center will be around 10,000 square feet with seven diesel lanes and eight gasoline islands, company officials said.

In 2012, the Cumberland Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission gave a green light to Love’s to develop the site.

Love’s has paid for an extension of a water line to its property, DiFonzo has said. The city will take over the line but is not paying for the installation. Love’s contracted to purchase more than two acres near Ali Ghan Road for $1,625,000, according to records with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Love’s will open about 30 new stores this year, company officials said.

The growth of the family-owned company hasn’t obscured the fundamentals for both employees and customers, Dorian said.

“It’s a very good culture, and the employees in Cumberland will see that. You’re in the family, whether you’re in the corporate office in Oklahoma or in Cumberland, Maryland,” Dorian said.

Love’s is a family-owned company that began in 1964 with the Musket Corp., according to the company website.

Tom and Judy Love started out by leasing an abandoned filling station in Watonga, Okla., for $5,000. The first Love’s opened in 1972, also in Oklahoma, according to the corporate website. The Love family still owns the privately held company.

The company now has $17 billion in annual revenue and has more than 290 stores in 39 states. The company has 10,000 employees. In 2013, Love’s ranked No. 9 on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies, according to the company’s website.

For more on Love’s, visit www.loves.com.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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