The 12,000-square-foot center will include a 24-hour restaurant, retail store, video game room, showers and laundry facilities.
Ike Mefford, vice president of marketing, said while trucking is a big part of their business, Williams also wants to lure three other types of customers: vacationing families, business travelers and Mississippi coast residents. Mefford said the concept of the travel center has evolved from the old truckstop and is a reflection of today's "more sophisticated" trucking industry.
The Nashville-based company built its first travel center in 1992 and now has 17, mainly in the Southeast and Midwest. They were formerly known as Mapco, and the company is still in the process of re-naming some locations. Williams plans to build 85 centers by 2001, and wants to have locations coast to coast by 2006.
At the Biloxi location, truck drivers will have their own entrance, a separate diesel canopy with nine fueling lanes and a diesel cashier at a separate island in the store. There will be overnight parking for 118 trucks. Another fueling area will be equipped to handle 20 cars and four RVs. There will be parking for 78 vehicles.