OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores says the founder of the truck stop chain known for its red and yellow heart logo, “Clean Places, Friendly Faces” motto and in-store showers has died .
The company announced on its website that Tom Love died March 7 in Oklahoma City. He was 85. A cause of death was not given.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved husband, father and grandfather,” family members said in the statement. “While the sorrow we feel is immeasurable, we celebrate his life and will continue his legacy of living lives of integrity, honesty and faith.”
According to the statement, Love and his wife Judy founded what became Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores as Musket Corporation in 1964. They rented a closed gas station for $5,000 in Watonga, about 50 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
“In many ways, he was an ordinary person who built an extraordinary business alongside his wife Judy and family, whom he loved dearly,” Love President Shane Wharton said in the company’s statement.
Love’s, worth $9.7 billion in 2022 according to Forbes, remains family-owned. It now operates around 600 stations in 42 states with more than 39,000 employees, mostly along freeways.
Developing a concept that combined grocery and convenience stores with gas stations, Love opened in Guymon, Oklahoma, in the Oklahoma Panhandle in 1972 in what the company describes as the first combined grocery and convenience store with a self-service gas station.
Love’s opened its first travel stop off Interstate 40 in Amarillo, Texas in 1981, catering to professional drivers and other motorists seeking convenience and efficiency when traveling across the country.
Love’s has expanded these services to include truck maintenance and semi-trailer roadside assistance and in-store showers.
The company’s logo, a multicolored, layered heart with a red heart that appears to be moving toward the viewer, can be seen on the store’s signage along the interstates, on the jerseys of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder and on NASCAR Cup Series cars.
Love leaves behind his wife, four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Funerals were not announced.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.
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