Drivers get to know locals at the TA Big Spring
Big Spring sounds like the name of a town in an old Western movie, and some might say that it fits that image. Rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds are part of the scenery in the area known as the crossroads of Texas. But the sense of community is as lush as the landscape is spare.
Drivers sit side by side with local residents, since TA Big Spring is the town’s most popular gathering spot. Long-term friendships form regularly, thanks to the small-town atmosphere and many years of service. The travel center opened its doors in 1971, and joined the TA family in 2004.
“Most of us have been here a long time. Everyone is part of the family here,” Country Fare GM Leo Whiteley says. “We like to make our customers happy. We notice when our people aren’t here.”
The Country Fare restaurant is a special gathering spot for diners on Sundays, thanks to a tradition that started at the site decades ago — the turkey and gravy dinner. Though some will opt for roast beef and ham, Whiteley learned to never mess with the turkey and gravy.
“Why fix something that’s not broken?” says Whiteley. “I thought people would get tired of eating the same thing every week, but it’s the exact reason they come up here to eat on Sundays.”
Big Spring sees a lot of drivers come through its doors, so keeping the place in top shape is important. The showers recently got a facelift, with new tile, spacious stalls and a good supply of fluffy towels. Even the hallway got a makeover.
“The entire upstairs looks better,” says Brad Burt, travel store general manager. “Now when customers head upstairs, the walls are brighter. They look spotless and fresh.”
Pie, taffy and fudge are all made fresh at the restaurant, and most people make a point to save room for dessert. Fudge is given away on Mother’s and Father’s Day, and chocolate covered strawberries are a special treat on Valentine’s Day.
Steven Schumpert, known by customers and colleagues as Scuba Steve, has worked at the TA for nearly 25 years. As porter for the outside area, he makes regular rounds to keep the grounds free of debris.
Truck service advisor Hector Loredo says that customer service is key when it comes to drivers. The Big Spring truck service department regularly has drivers who ask for technicians by name. ASE certification means they get the job done right.
“We keep with the family feel here,” says Loredo. “All of the departments work together to make every driver’s experience the best.”
Where: I-20 & Hwy 87, Exit 177
Phone: (432) 264-4444
Fax: (432) 263-0418
Truck Parking Spaces: 108
Truck Service Bays: 5
Restaurants: Country Fare, Subway, Popeyes