Sponsored by Lane Powell

Truck stop business sputters

| Print |  Email
Archives - August 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009

At least 16 trucks hauling Lexus cars from Toyota Logistics used to pull into the Baker Truck Corral each week, heading for Denver, Colo. That’s a drastic difference from the few that now arrive at the Baker City truck stop. And it’s the same story at other truck stops around the state: Traffic is down, so business is, too.

Kurt Miller, owner of Baker Truck Corral, says traffic through his stop is off by 30%. Miller’s strategy for keeping business up is to concentrate on serving the locals instead of “just relying on truckers.” So far his method seems to be working. Miller says revenue for the Corral has been consistent from 2008 to 2009, and although diesel sales have dropped about 40%, gasoline sales rose in June.

It’s a different story for the Flying J in Troutdale, where revenue has sunk by about 30% in the last six months. General manager Glen Mackey says the reason is the lower demand for products trucked into Oregon. The amount of diesel pumped also dropped, down about 400,000 gallons from May 2008. The Flying J, a national chain of truck stops that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, faces stiff competition from Travel Centers of America (which is at the same exit off I-84).

Business at other Oregon truck stops falls between that of Baker Truck Corral and the Flying J. The Seven Feathers Truck & Travel in Canyonville reports diesel sales are down but gasoline sales are up. Truck ’N Travel in Coburg has seen a 20% drop in diesel sales and a 10% drop in gas sales in the past year.

Truck stop managers blamed the economy for most of their financial troubles. Truck ’N Travel president John Anderson says business started slowing about 18 months ago. “We’re going to precede the economy in either upswings or downswings,” he says. “Freight seems to slow down faster or pick up prior to the economic indicator.”

Most truck stops rely on a variety of services to make up for dwindling fuel profits. The Seven Feathers truck stop abuts a tribal casino and offers discounts to casino guests. Jubitz supplements its fuel service by providing everything from a restaurant and shoe repair shop to a theater and medical clinic.

Executives at Jubitz, located at exit 305 off I-5 in Portland, at first estimated fuel sales to be down about 20%, but when VP Victor Stibolt checked the books, he found that from January 2008 to January 2009 there was a 13% decrease, and from June 2008 to June 2009 an 8% decrease in sales. “We do feel that things have bottomed out and that we’re beginning to see some upticks,” says Stibolt.

ALLISON BRANDOW
 

More Articles

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

Business partnerships: taming the three-headed monster

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 06, 2015
070615-businessmarriagefail-thumbBY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST

Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS