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- A career trucker brings his tales of the road to people in hospice
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- Driver Chris Jackson captures moments of beauty on the road
Petro Glade Spring always puts its focus on customers
When a deadly tornado whipped through Petro Glade Spring in April 2011, the location went down for a while, but was not by any means out.
“We were shut down for about 44 days,” recalls general manager Nick Lambert. “There was no electricity in the entire area for at least 30 of those days. We have a generator, so we were the only place in the area with power.”
That was key to the location’s quick recovery.
The storm caused incredible damage all around. One wall on the main building collapsed. The truck service center was a pile of rubble. Fuel islands were in pieces. The parking lot, jam-packed with trucks that had to come off the road for safety, got hit hard. Twenty-three tractor-trailers flipped over in the powerful winds, and though there were some injuries, thankfully none were serious.
It was a terrifying experience for the staff and customers, but one that brought out the best in everyone. Restaurant manager Henley Dobbins walked two miles to reach the site and helped keep more than 300 customers fed and sheltered.
The tornado hit on a Wednesday and Petro Glade Spring began rebuilding the following Monday.
“Everybody who saw what happened thought it would take us six months to get back up and running,” says Lambert.
They did it in six weeks.
While the tornado did a lot of damage, the rebuild included some improvements. The restrooms are bigger now, and there are five service bays in a completely new truck service center.
One important part of the location remains unchanged, though. Drivers find the same exceptional service, clean surroundings and friendly staff they always appreciated at Petro Glade Spring.
“We just try to be really good at what we do,” says Lambert.
When Petro Glade Spring throws a customer appreciation event, they go all out. Drivers are invited to join in on a day of great food, live music, games, and prizes. Often there’s even a NASCAR race car on display. “But every day is a customer service event here,” says truck service general manager Ron DeVaull. “We always try to do something special for our customers.”
Hungry for news?
Petro Glade Spring’s Iron Skillet had six televisions installed throughout the dining room in the rebuild. “We had one before, but now anywhere a driver sits, they can see the news and weather reports before they get back on the road,” says Dobbins.
“Buildings can be replaced and we did a great job on that after the tornado,” says DeVaull. “The personal side of an event like that is harder to come through. We have such wonderful people here, and going through that made us even more of a tight-knit crew. Our customers had to do without us for a while, and there were a few who told us they waited for us to open because they wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”
Dobbins saw the same thing at the restaurant. “When our customers came back they told us how much they missed our good food and just stopping here to see us,” he recalls. “They consider us friends and we feel the same. We missed them too.”
What You’ll Find
Petro Glade Spring, Va.
Where: I-81, Exit 29
Phone: (276) 429-6000
Fax: (276) 429-2985
Truck Parking Spaces: 270
Truck Service Bays: 5
Private Showers: 8
Restaurant: Iron Skillet