World's largest truck stop keeps on growing

Interstate 80 is a main artery across the country and being at the mid-point, has its advantages. It's helped put one business and a small town on the map.

Walcott, Iowa has a population around 1,600. That's the number of permanent residents, but every day, the small eastern Iowa town triples in size. Visitors come to the Iowa-80 Truck Stop, crowned by a petroleum company as the world's largest.

What makes it the largest truck stop? How about 900 parking spaces for trucks and another 250 for cars?

"We get 5,000 visitors each day, sometimes it's more sometimes it's less, but that's our average," said Delia Moon-Meier, Senior Vice President.
She grew up here, working her for her parents. The same family has owned the business since shortly after it opened in 1964. Back then, it was just a corner stop on Interstate 80. Today, she says the original business could fit inside the main building of the sprawling complex.

Over the years, it has evolved into a multi-service operation, all with drivers in mind.

"You've got a lot of truck stops that are just convenience stores on steroids, so to speak, and drivers like a place like this," said Tom Zahapopulos, a truck driver for 48 years.

From a fast food court and full-service restaurant to a huge gift shop, Iowa-80 offers something for everyone 24 hours, seven days a week. And some offerings are a little unexpected, like a custom embroidery shop.

But it's not just about retail services. You can also find all the comforts of home - while away from home. Things like a barber shop, laundry, movie theater, even a dentist!.

"I've used the showers, hang out in the TV room and I've looked in the fitness room--(looks down at belly) I looked, haha," said another truck driver, Turtle Massey.

Now, Iowa-80 is adding more space--23-thousand square feet--as a way to offer more grab-and-go fresh food options that today's customers demand.

So why does the world's largest truck stop continue to grow? It's the competitive and creative spirit of the family and the 500 employees who run it.

"We're competitive and it's fun to be the best, fun to be the biggest," added Moon-Meier.

So, much like the cars and trucks that roll through here every day, don't expect this operation to stand still. In fact, plans for the future are already in the works.

"We have 220 acres and only 80 of them developed, so I have lots of room for more ideas, and um, (pause) you'll have to wait and see," said Moon-Meier.

Read the original version of this article at www.kwqc.com.