Iowa 80 TA Truckstop Turns the Big 4 – 0 (11/26/2003)
WALCOTT, IOWA –Iowa 80 TA Truckstop, located in Walcott, Iowa, will be celebrating its 40th birthday in 2004. In celebration of the past 40 years and looking forward to serving customers for another 40 years, Iowa 80 TA Truckstop will be offering professional drivers special pricing on various items each month in 2004 at all Iowa 80 Group locations. Iowa 80 is also working on publishing a coffee table book featuring many historic Iowa 80 and trucking related photos. The book will be available at the 2004 Walcott Truckers Jamboree, where there will also be a giant birthday cake for everyone to dig into.
Iowa 80 began it’s operation in 1964 in a small, white enamel building in the middle of Iowa cornfields just west of the Mississippi River; Interstate 80 wasn’t even complete. Standard Oil built and opened the truckstop. At that time, Iowa 80 had two diesel pumps, one lube bay and a small restaurant operated by the Peel Family. In September 1965, Bill Moon took over management of the truckstop for Standard Oil. “My father was a great visionary. He always said that Walcott was the perfect spot”, says Delia Moon Meier.
Under Mr. Moon’s keen management, the truckstop began to grow and in 1984 Bill Moon and his wife Carolyn purchased the truckstop from Amoco. Now that it was theirs, the Moon family was able to remodel, update and expand the restaurant and truckers store. The shop bays were closed to build state of the art private showers and a driver’s area, both of which were very rare in a truckstop at this time. In 1989, Iowa 80 added a new store probably most famous for, other than its chrome selection, the 1918 Oldsmobile hoisted above the cashier island.
Three years later, in 1992, Oakgrove 70 Petro expanded its fuel center and became a Truckstops of America franchisee. This move gave Iowa 80 the opportunity to associate with a nationally recognized name and at the same time maintain its independence. Truckstops of America would also serve as a connection to the trucking fleets that had grown over the years. And one year later, Iowa 80 opened its TA Service Center. Sadly, 1992 also marked the year that Mr. Bill Moon passed away, but his family is still operating the truckstop as he would have wanted — focusing on the customer and you are sure to find someone from the Moon family on the grounds any given day.
Mr. Moon’s focus on the customer is what sparked the beginning of the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in 1979. This huge driver appreciation event has evolved over the years and serves as an example for other truckstops and towns that hold such events. The Jamboree began as the Moon family’s way of thanking their driver customers and continues to do so today as a celebration of the trucking industry with a pork chop cook-out, Super Truck Beauty Contest, Live Entertainment, exhibits and an antique truck display that is partially comprised of the Moon family collection. This year also marks the 25th Anniversary of the Walcott Truckers Jamboree.
Over the years, Iowa 80 has grown to occupy many of those cornfields that once surrounded it. Today, Iowa 80 TA Truckstop sits on 225 acres; a far cry from its humble beginnings. After a $4 million expansion in 1994 and various other new amenities, the truckstop now boasts the Iowa 80 Kitchen (still run by the Peel family), it’s 300-seat restaurant with a 50-foot buffet, complete with omelet bar and carving station; a 12,000 sq. foot, one-of-a-kind Truckers Warehouse Store; 23 Private Showers, 60-seat Dolby Surround Sound® Movie Theater, Driver’s Den with fireplace; two Game Rooms, Barber Shop/Syling Salon, Dentist, TA Service Center, Truckomat Truck Wash, CAT Scale, state-of-the-art Fuel Center with 16 diesel pumps (one lane of which is specifically designed for over width, over height loads); Embroidery Center, Custom Vinyl Graphics Shop, Upscale Gift and Collectibles Store, Travel Store, Wendy’s Restaurant and Dairy Queen in the Food Court and a Blimpie located in the Fuel Center.
Iowa 80 launched a mail order catalog in 1997. Drivers can order everything they want from Iowa 80 TA Truckstop even if their schedule or route doesn’t take them to Walcott. The catalog has evolved to include an e-commerce web site as well. The web site, http://www.iowa80.com, gives drivers access to over 23,000 items. Everything from bumpers and exhaust to truck and engine brand apparel and gift items.
In 2003, Iowa 80 broke ground for the Iowa 80 Trucking Hall of Fame. Scheduled to open in Summer 2005, this museum will be a tribute to trucking and feature many antique trucks as well as trucking memorabilia from the Moon Family’s collection. “My father loved trucks and trucking”, says Delia Moon Meier. “Over the years he collected several antique trucks, antique toy trucks and other trucking memorabilia. This is going to be a great way for us to share that with others interested in trucking and its history.”
Over the years professional drivers and travelers have seen a lot of changes in truckstops and the amenities they offer. For drivers Iowa 80 TA Truckstop is a home away from home and they’ve watched it grow over the years from a small facility into the largest, most respected truckstop in the world. And each one of those drivers know that even though Iowa 80 has changed, their friendly service and commitment to the professional driver has remained the same. Iowa 80 is always focused on serving them better.
The Iowa 80 TA Truckstop is part of the Iowa 80 Group that also owns Joplin Petro Truckstop, Joplin, Missouri; Joplin Petro Truckstop, Oak Grove, Missouri; Truckomats in: Little Rock, Arkansas; Temple, Georgia; Effingham, Illinois; South Holland, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Walcott, Iowa; Joplin, Missouri; Oak Grove, Missouri; Hebron, Ohio; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Laredo, Texas; IOWA80.COM; Iowa 80 Trucking Hall of Fame and CAT Scale Company.