The TA Foristell is a place of quiet charm and kindness
When drivers arrive at the TA Foristell, the worries of the day almost immediately fall away. They have entered a place with a calming and friendly atmosphere, and it’s easy to adopt a cheery outlook when everyone around offers such a warm welcome.
“Everyone here really cares about the customers who come in,” says store GM Rich Thompson. “It reminds me of where I grew up in the 1970s. It was a small town, and everyone would go to the same café where they knew you and your family. It’s a warm, cozy feeling.”
Foristell, Mo., comes by its small-town atmosphere honestly. The town has a population of just 600 or so, and the TA is one of the central gathering spots. People who work there tend to stay there. Many employees have been there for 30 years or more, greeting many drivers who have been coming back for decades.
Customers love chatting with Carolyn Owens, Louise Wingfield and Bernadine Dorr, all longtime servers at the Country Pride, or trading quips with Bob Hayeslip, who keeps the grounds tidy.
“We know about their families, and they know about ours,” says Diana Almond, restaurant GM. “It’s a real hometown atmosphere for everyone.”
That hometown feeling spills over into the restaurant, where there’s always something delicious on the menu. “We take pride in our all-you-can-eat buffet,” says Almond. “We’ll have roasted turkey and dressing with all the trimmings, chicken and dumplings — all made from scratch — and a lot of them are my own family recipes. It’s real down-home cooking.”
Two chaplains make regular visits to the location and are available by phone when they aren’t onsite. Chaplain Russell comes by during the week, ministering to drivers and others in need. The Trucker Church, started by Paul and Lana Kruse just over 10 years ago, offers services every Sunday in the Drivers Lounge. The corner cabinet in the lounge contains Bibles for anyone to read at any time.
Getting around the location is much easier now, thanks to some recent upgrades. The lot was repaved, and the fuel island has all new, faster diesel pumps plus DEF at the pump. Inside, the store has been completely remodeled, so that the fuel desk is now easily accessible from the travel store. Everything has been modernized to be easy to navigate. “Drivers love the new layout,” says Connie Moor, who has worked the fuel desk for more than 30 years.