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Not feelin’ the Love
Convenience store chain backs out of expansion
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Loves has backed out of plans to expand its Great Bend location into a small-scale truck stop. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

With fanfare at the Dec. 17 Great Bend City Council meeting, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Jan Peters announced Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores planned to expand its Great Bend location into a small-scale truck stop. 

The love wasn’t mutual, the council learned Monday night. Peters said the Oklahoma City, Okla.-based firm had backed out of the $1.5-2 million project at 1221 10th St.

“The basic bottom line got to be that turning into the current location, they just couldn’t get it wide enough,” Peters said. This was a Kansas Department of Transportation issue since it required certain parameters for turns off state highways.

“I am so sad,” she said. “I can’t believe it. We put so much time and effort into this project.”

Peters stopped short of saying the matter was dead. 

The convenience store was going to stretch to the south and east, adding truck parking and two diesel fuel bays. The contract was signed Dec. 10, but at the time it was still a work in progress, and meetings followed to iron out the details. 

“Was Loves offered any other locations other than where they are now?” asked Councilman Brock McPherson.

Peters and company had been working since 2015 to get a truck stop, and Love’s was considering building such a plaza just east of Great Bend along U.S. 56. But, at about $8 million, company officials said they couldn’t make that work.

“That was their first location,” she said. “But they pulled off that one.”

So, “they basically chose their current location,” she said. It wasn’t a matter of offering the company a alternate site because this was their choice.

Besides, she said, the existing Love’s location is one of the chain’s best producing stores and it doesn’t want to give it up.

As for funding, it would have be paid for by the company, she said. Love’s was looking at the Neighborhood Revitalization Program or seeking to establish a Community Improvement District (both offer tax credits to developers).

The family-owned chain has over 470 truck stop and convenience stores in 41 states. The company is privately owned and headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla.