Love’s Travel Stop open for business in Kimball
After years of planning, new highway oasis now serving Interstate 90 travelers
KIMBALL, S.D. — Just in time for the holidays, the new Love’s Travel Stop just outside Kimball is open for business, providing gas, food and even camping facilities for travelers heading east and west along Interstate 90 in South Dakota.
The business opened Dec. 16, and is already seeing a stream of customers, ranging from interstate truck drivers on their way across the country to locals stopping by to pick up a tank of gas or quick deli item, said Anita Holan, director for the Kimball Economic Development Corporation.
And business has been steady, she said.
“Oh my goodness, busy is not the word,” Holan told the Mitchell Republic. “There are a lot of people stopping by to check it out, and they are excited to see it while doing their Christmas shopping. A large number of truckers and travelers, people traveling to see their families over the holiday. Christmas was crazy.”
The arrival of the Love’s Travel Stop has been years in the making. Efforts began in 2016, when representatives from the business began the process of buying a block of land near the interstate.
When the purchase went through, the Kimball Economic Development Corporation began acting as a go-between for the company and the community, providing them with information on local demographics, city government and other aspects the company might need to know about by becoming part of the business district.
Planning and work have continued since then. After breaking ground in June 2021 , the company hit their estimated completion of construction target by being open in mid-December. Now the community of just under 600 residents has a new travel center welcoming visitors to the community.
Most of the work is complete, Holan said. Though it's already been busy over the past week and a half, she expects it will pick up even more once Godfather’s Pizza and Subway officially open in the complex.
“I’m sure as Subway and Godfather’s Pizza opens, it will be busier again,” Holan said.
The business is expected to employ around 20 individuals and should provide a strong economic boost to the city through tax dollars, as well as increase the number of travelers who stop off the interstate. Those who patronize the travel stop, both those travelers and locals, will support the community both through the tax dollars it generates on site and at other businesses in town.
That alone is reason to celebrate the arrival of the Love’s Travel Stop, Holan said.
“I don’t think (the community realizes) yet how great this is for the community. The amount of dollars that are spent there will be amazing,” Holan said.
The stop should also provide a chance for the community to showcase some of its attractions. The travel center stands directly across from the South Dakota Tractor Museum and will be near the historic Holy Trinity Church , which serves as navigational landmark along Interstate 90.
The business stands on the site of another former truck stop just south of the intestate and east of the overpass.
The business features gas and diesel, a dog walking park for large and small dogs, as well as a number of food options for hungry travelers, including a deli producing fresh morsels. There is also a small RV camping site that can accommodate up to five campers for travelers who may be looking to pull off the road for the day.
That feature is expected to be utilized more in the summer months, but Holan said even in the cold of December at least one camper has already utilized the option.
“It’s crazy. Last night, as cold as it was, there was a camper parked there. I think it’s a little cold for camping,” Holan laughed. “I think it’s going to get even busier over the summer.”
The Kimball location was one of five that opened for business Dec. 16, with others including centers in Heflin, Alabama; Fillmore, Utah; Klamath Falls, Oregon and Leavenworth, Indiana. The stores combined add more than 380 truck parking spaces and 280 jobs to the communities in which they're located.
“For only the second time in the history of Love’s, we’re opening five new locations in one day that will be ready to help get customers back on the road quickly and safely,” said Greg Love, co-CEO of Love’s, in a statement. “Our team members in Klamath Falls, Heflin, Kimball, Fillmore and Leavenworth will provide customers the Highway Hospitality they expect when stopping at Love’s.”
Love’s has a large footprint along American highways. Founded in 1964, Love’s Travel Stops have more than 550 locations in 41 states and provide professional truckers and motorists with 24-hour access to clean and safe places to purchase gasoline, diesel fuel, compressed natural gas, travel items, electronics, snacks, restaurant offerings and more, according to the company website.
The company has more than 32,000 employees at its various locations and is headquartered in Oklahoma City.
An official ribbon cutting is tentatively set for Jan. 10 at 10 a.m., Holan said. That will officially mark the beginning of a new era in Kimball, one that is set to provide a positive impact to the community for years to come.
“It’s beautiful, I don’t know what else to say. It’s a great thing for Kimball,” Holan said.