‘Gateway’ plans get boost from Love’s Travel Center | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo by David Prenatt
The new Love’s Travel Center, located off the Ripley exit on Interstate 90, is open and doing brisk business.

RIPLEY — Dreams of a Gateway to New York facility are closer to reality after the opening of Love’s Travel Center off Interstate 90.

The location opened its doors earlier this month, according to a press release from the Love’s corporate office in Oklahoma City. The center, located at 6201 Shortman Road, adds 85 jobs and 94 truck parking spaces to Chautauqua County.

“We’re excited to open a fourth location in New York,” said Greg Love, co-chief executive officer of Love’s. “Love’s offers clean and safe places for customers to stop when they’re on the road and team members will get them back on the way to their destination quickly and safely.”

According to the press release, as part of the grand opening, the Love’s Corp. is donating $2,000 to Ripley Central School District.

The opening represents the culmination of a process that began in December of 2019 when representatives of Love’s presented plans for the center to the Ripley Planning and Town Boards.

Ripley is the first exit in New York state for eastbound travelers, which has given it the nickname the “Gateway to New York.” Plans had been underway in the county executive’s office to explore the possibility of creating a gateway center there. However, the COVID pandemic put the project on hold, according to County Industrial Development Chief Executive Officer, Mark Geise.

Geise said when he first spoke to representatives of Love’s about a travel stop, they were amazed that the land on Shortman Road, where the former Colonial Restaurant and Hotel buildings were located, had not been developed.

“For people coming into New York, it’s such an easy-on, easy-off exit,” he said. “Love’s was thrilled with the location.”

The center offers an array of services to travelers including a Hardee’s Restaurant, 94 truck parking spaces, 49 car parking spaces, eight diesel bays, eight showers, laundry facilities, a CAT scale, “bean-to-cup” gourmet coffee, a Mobile to Go Zone with the latest GPS, headsets and smartphone accessories, and a dog park.

The Love’s Travel Stops network boasts more than 580 locations in 41 states. Founded in 1964 and headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company remains family-owned and operated and employs more than 35,000 people.

Love’s has more than 420 truck service centers, which include Speedco and Love’s Truck Care locations. Love’s and Speedco combined is the largest oil change, preventive maintenance and total truck care nationwide network with over 1,500 maintenance bays and 1,200 emergency roadside vehicles available for customers.

A Speedco is expected to open at the Ripley location in April.

Geise said the construction of Love’s Travel Stop leaves the door open to further development because the sewer and water lines of the town of Ripley have been extended to that location. “Without sewer and water, the basic infrastructure, it is impossible to get development,” he said

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