Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Embracing New Opportunities: Love's Expands into Self-Storage, Plans More Hotels

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Embracing New Opportunities: Love's Expands into Self-Storage, Plans More Hotels

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. plans to expand its services this year. The yellow, red and orange hearts will adorn more than convenience stores.

The company is entering the storage unit business with two facilities this spring, with more to come later this year.

Kevin McCarthy, director of special projects in real estate for Love's, said the new venture is another example of founder Tom Love's entrepreneurial drive. He said a Love's corporate employee owns a storage unit facility next to the Love's Travel Stop at S. Morgan Road and Interstate 35, and many professional drivers were renting the units.

"We thought this might be a good fit for us," McCarthy said.

The company will open a 62,000-square-foot facility in El Paso, Texas, in April, and a 43,000-square-foot facility in Sweetwater, Texas, in May. The El Paso spot will have 289 non-climate- controlled units, 228 climate-controlled units and 51-covered recreational vehicle-boat parking spots. In Sweetwater, the company is building 236 non-climated-controlled units, 112 climate- controlled units, and 57 RV/boat parking spots. Both are next to Love's Travel Stops, but will have separate entrances.

The storage facilities are being built on land the company initially purchased for the travel stops.

"We weren't really going out and looking for the land," McCarthy said. "It just happened that we accumulated surplus property over the years."

Other planned storage facilities will be in Las Vegas, which is solely RV and boat storage; Bridgeton, Missouri; and Tulare, California. The Bridgeton site will open in early 2016, and the other two facilities are still in early development stages. All three will sit next to Love's Travel Stops.

Another company venture won't always be next to a travel stop. Love's is continuing to partner with economy and limited-service hotel companies, with 12 hotels planned. It purchased a Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham franchise in early 2014 and opened two locations that year. …

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