- Father and son share a love of life on the road, even if it makes visits rare
- This driver always makes time to mentor the next generation — whether at home or on the road
- This driver helps rookie truckers learn the ropes
- Home-schooling in a truck means the country is a classroom
- This driver sees the world through Google Glass
- A career trucker brings his tales of the road to people in hospice
- How driver Paul Sedlak finds motivation to reach his fitness goals
- I Love Trucking: More than a job, driving is a way of life
- Big Rig Books: Driver delivers books to underprivileged kids
- Driver Chris Jackson captures moments of beauty on the road
The remodeled Petro Florence still offers a warm Southern welcome
Can good old Southern charm and friendliness melt away the stresses of a driver’s hectic day? At Petro Florence that’s definitely a goal.
“In South Carolina we are known for being friendly folks, and we like to make sure that drivers feel welcome and comfortable when they visit,” says store general manager David Tabler.
Restaurant general manager John Wallace calls it the “take care of you attitude,” and it can mean something as simple as friendly conversation and knowing a driver’s regular order to taking a sick customer to see a doctor.
“Our staff is top-notch,” says Wallace. “I think that Northern customers, especially, who are used to a more fast-paced life, appreciate our style, which is kind, gentle and sweet.”
Tabler points out that Petro Florence has many amenities on-site that also appeal to drivers.
“I think that we are, by far, the nicest facility in the area,” he says.
That’s especially true since all of the buildings have been remodeled. The Iron Skillet underwent a top-to-bottom renovation, with new seats, new kitchen equipment and a new décor theme that spotlights nearby attractions Darlington Raceway, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach.
There are new showers, the entranceway has been refreshed and the travel store now offers cappuccino, ices, hot dogs and nachos. Outside, the fuel island has a new canopy.
“It looks like a new truckstop,” says fuel desk general manager Charles Bernsen. “Drivers are definitely appreciating the updates.”
One of the dishes that visitors ask about at Iron Skillet is the Chicken Bog, a hometown favorite that is often the centerpiece at church suppers. It’s a stew of chicken, sausage, rice and onions, slow-simmered to a delectable tenderness.
During construction, the porters on staff realized that a good part of their daily to-do list was on hold until the work was completed. So they would head to the fuel islands and wash windows, help drivers with fueling and find other ways to assist drivers.
The fuel island deli once served only fried foods. Now it has the equipment to prepare good, fresh food. Drivers can get full meals throughout the day, made to order. Staff is on hand to whip up eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast, grits and breakfast sandwiches in the morning. There are also full dinners available, featuring entrees such as baked chicken or Salisbury steak with a choice of vegetables.