Travelers through Greene County will soon have a new option to stop and refuel their vehicles and themselves with a large Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store that will include three dining options.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey joined Eutaw and Greene County officials to break ground on the future travel center Monday.
“Momentum is definitely on our side and that happens when major companies like Love’s chooses to have multiple locations in our state and especially rural Alabama,” Ivey said. “Economic development happens when state officials and local officials work together and collaborate and reach out to work with the business leaders to attract (them) to all the state has to offer.”
The new travel stop will be built on a nearly 14-acre site off Exit 40 of Interstate 20/59 and is expected to bring an estimated 43 jobs to the area with a projected 1,000 trucks per day. It will be one of the largest Love’s sites in Alabama and will include a Hardee’s, Godfather’s Pizza and Chester’s Chicken. The Eutaw Love’s is designed with 96 parking spaces for professional drivers, with the possibility of expansion for more.
Jenny Love Meyer, vice president of communications and daughter of the company’s founder, said she is always proud to see the business grow in areas where it can make a difference.
“About 54 years ago, my parents started this business in western Oklahoma and started really on the premise of ‘clean spaces and friendly faces,’” she said. “We live by that every single day and across the nation – 470 locations – and we hope and promise to do the same thing here. I am confident with the enthusiastic support of you all that we are going to have a lot of great folks working here and shopping here.”
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, whose district includes Greene County, said bringing jobs and development to the area can be a challenge, but when a project like Love’s comes along, it matters for the region.
“Economic development only occurs when we have all hands on deck – that’s city, that’s county, that’s state, that’s federal,” she said. “And it is so important that citizens buy in to economic development activity because our greatest asset is our people, our workforce. What we lack in economic prosperity we more than make up for it in heart, in spirit, in fight, in a strong work ethic. What we need are better opportunities and resources. And today, all of those things come together for the good of the citizens of Eutaw and the county of Greene.”
Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele said having Love’s will be a great boost for the city.
“We have the opportunity now to really move our community forward because as you see everybody is here, everybody is in place,” he said. “It’s not about party, it’s not about color, it’s about working together. We are moving forward here in Eutaw and Greene County.”
Assisting with the project were Ivey, Sewell, Greene County, the city of Eutaw, the Greene County Industrial Development Authority (GCIDA), the Alabama Department of Transportation, Delta Regional Authority, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Doug Jones and other local and state elected officials.
“This a great day for Eutaw and Greene County,” said Phillis Belcher, executive director of GCIDA. “We have all pulled together, as a city and community to make Love’s not just a dream but a reality. We look forward to growing our economic status.”
Ivey said companies like Love’s that open multiple locations within the state show confidence in its people.
“With a major brand like Love’s choosing to locate here, Greene County is on the move,” she said. “To my friends at Love’s – thank you for continuing to do business in Alabama and in rural Alabama. Thank you, Love’s, for believing in our state and most importantly, believing in our people. I am certain that the hardworking people in this area will continue to work hard and give everyone even more reason to love Love’s.”