- A driver builds up his own trucking business
- 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
TA Battle Creek is a very happy place
“We really like to incorporate the fun factor when we’re at work,” says Dave Espinoza, store and fuel desk general manager. “That’s a big part of the atmosphere here, and our customers feel it right away.”
The surroundings reflect that positivity. A relatively new addition to the network, TA Battle Creek has undergone a total transformation to bring it up to the high standard that TA customers expect and deserve. Drivers notice the change as soon as they wheel in on the repaved parking lot. Not only is the ride a lot smoother, but the area is more spacious with room for 150 trucks to maneuver safely. Landscaping is also getting an update.
Inside, the changes are just as dramatic. The hallways are dotted with photos of vintage semis. The Country Pride restaurant, decorated with scenic photos of Michigan, was expanded. Completely renovated restrooms and showers, new washers and dryers, a game room and a driver’s lounge all add a level of comfort and convenience.
“Drivers are happy with it all,” says Espinoza. “They talk about how improved we are.”
Lots of dining choices
Country Pride has plenty of seating, and a good menu selection for any taste. “We just added a chicken salad and a turkey wrap, and we have lots of StayFit items for people who are looking for healthier options,” says restaurant manager John Finn.
Cheering the home team
Geography makes Battle Creek a popular stopping point for drivers. It’s right at the halfway mark between Chicago and Detroit, homes to some serious sports fans. That makes the driver’s lounge, with DirecTV, a popular spot. “We get a lot of Tigers fans during baseball season,” says Espinoza.
Get your fill
The all-you-can-eat buffet features the popular Broaster Chicken, a marinated and pressure-fried chicken, made with fresh (not frozen) poultry. Drivers can also order it at the open-24-hours-a-day Country Pride, which features it as a Hometown Special — four pieces served with a potato side and the soup and salad bar — or grab some Broaster Chicken to go at the food court.
Meet Tionna and Fiona
If anyone has a question, cashier Tionna Woodruff can answer it. If there’s a problem, she knows how to solve it. She’s the proud owner of more than 60 customer-awarded stars for exceptional service. Fiona LaJoie, a new server at Country Pride is building her own star collection, impressing diners with her cheery nature and helpfulness.
The truck service center has a well-stocked retail section and a comfortable waiting area where drivers can grab a cup of coffee. The popcorn machine there gets a lot of use, filling the room with the enticing aroma of freshly popped popcorn that drivers can scoop up and snack on.
“It’s nice to have something for drivers to nibble on while they wait,” says truck service center general manager Terry Spriggs. “I’ve been here a long time so I see what a big change it is. It’s a beautiful place now.”
TA Battle Creek
Where: I-94, Exit 104
Phone: (269) 965-7721
Fax: (269) 968-4233
Truck Parking Spaces: 150
Truck Service Bays: 5
Restaurants: Country Pride, Breyers Ice Cream, Broaster Chicken