Making it Big

By on September 9, 2010
RoadKing Mag

Walk into the Kenly 95 Petro and one word escapes your lips. “Wow!”

Long known as a welcome stopping point for drivers, the location is bigger, brighter and better, from one end to the next after a major renovation.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” says general manager Ernie Brame, who has worked at the North Carolina truckstop for 25 years. “Our new lighthouse, which is an exact 1/3-size replica of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, has already become a landmark.”

Drivers who are fans of the Iowa 80 TA Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa, will get a jolt of recognition walking into the revamped Kenly 95 Petro, which has the same owner.

In fact, it’s got the title of the East Coast’s Largest Truckstop. The signature truck at the entrance is a 1946 Dodge Power Wagon, sitting atop a pile of local river rocks.

And every part of the place is now supersized.

“We had a vision and a dream of what Kenly 95 could be. We wanted to create a big, inviting truckstop on the East Coast for drivers traveling Interstate 95,” says Brame.

The entire building has been redone, with natural light pouring in from skylights and many windows.

Speaking of light, the truck store houses an amazing light wall with more than 550 different types of truck lighting on display. The chrome shop is a wonderland of accessories, including clothing, supplies, decorative gifts and more. The expanded floor space translates to more products to meet customer needs. And there’s a lot more floor space.

“We went from a 3,000-square-foot truck store to a 15,000-square-foot truck and travel store,” says Brame. “It’s so large that we now have people who walk the space to get in their exercise.”

Shower shocker

During the renovation, a driver sought out Brame to thank him for the new, sparkling clean showers. “I shook his hand and said, ‘Thank you sir, but we haven’t remodeled those showers in 15 years. We just have a really conscientious cleaning crew.’”

Clean is contagious

The restrooms and showers aren’t the only noticeably clean areas. The staff keeps the grounds tidy all the time, and drivers notice. “They respect what we’ve done with the property,” says Brame. “I’m amazed at the lack of trash on the ground, and it’s because drivers are taking good care of the area.”

Great place to relax

A new TV room has 16 plush chairs to settle in and watch the game, the news or whatever else everyone wants to see. It’s not uncommon to see every chair filled. “Drivers are happy to come in and have a comfortable place to sit back and relax for a while,” says Brame.

Dining in style

The Iron Skillet, always a driver favorite, is ready to serve. Like the rest of the location, the dining area has expanded, so there’s plenty of seating at all times. Drivers also have the option of getting meals at Wendy’s or Subway.

She’s an original

Ask June Brincheck how long she’s been at Kenly’s fuel desk and she’ll say “before the gravel.” That’s no exaggeration. On staff when the stop opened in 1980, she still loves getting to meet the truckers. “Now I’m meeting their children and even their grandchildren too,” she marvels. “I just love working here, and it’s the customers who make it a joy. Some drivers have told me that they feel like they’re family here, and they are.”

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