Love’s Travel Stops announced its one-year anniversary of acquiring Speedco, a national network of tire and lube service locations for commercial vehicles. Since buying the company from Bridgestone, the company has added a new location in Pendleton, Kentucky, to bring the total locations to 53.
In an interview with Truckinginfo.com, Aaron Aylworth, director of Speedco operations at Love’s, noted that future growth of Speedco locations will be driven by the planned expansion of Love’s travel center network, since Love’s Tire Care centers “will now be Speedcos going forward,” he said.
Aylworth said the company anticipates adding 40 Speedco-branded units on Love’s property.
“We have a clear plan going forward,” that every Love’s unit that gets a shop, “will get a Speedco.”
In addition, the company is looking at a number of different properties for “off-property growth, where it may make sense to put a Speedco, but not a truck stop,” he added. “New Speedcos will be at ground-up truck stops or at stand-alone locations.”
As for converting existing Love’s Tire Service locations to Speedcos, he said that some existing facilities “aren’t big enough to be a Speedco.” The company has identified some locations that will be re-branded as a retrofit. “Oil capacity is one consideration.” Plus, they will need to have more bays. “There is a lot to be done with those.”
Speedco has been known for its quick service compared to truck stop or dealership shops when it comes to oil changes. Aylworth agreed that is what sets the chain apart. “I truly believe that is what built Speedco. Ultimately that is what will continue to be our calling card. Our speed of service is why customers come to us. The Speedco team has taught the Love’s team a lot about speed of service.”
In addition to lube and tires, Speedco and Love’s also offer light mechanical services, with their main objective being to offer the same offerings at every location. “If you go to Speedco, you can get whatever you get at Love’s and vice versa.” As for the complexity of the service offered, he said they want to keep the jobs to two- or three-hour jobs and “focus on things that keep the truck on the road.”
Speedco does a large number of DOT inspections, he noted, but without offering light mechanical services, the company had no way to help get a truck back on the road if it failed inspection. “That left a gap with our customer and our service. We want to be able to get a failed truck back on the road.”
Offering mechanical services means finding mechanics, which Aylworth admitted has been challenging. As a result, over the last five years, Love’s put together an apprentice and internal training program. “We have six mobile classrooms, online training, in-person training – it’s a very inclusive course of study,’ he said. “We just started graduating our own mechanics from our Speedco program.”