Pilot Flying J opens in Grand Junction off Interstate 70
ABOUT PILOT FLYING J Travel stops
Pilot Flying J has more than 550 travel centers nationwide with one of the most recent opening in Grand Junction.
“We provide the area with service and a convenient stop going to and from work,” Pilot Flying J general manager Kregg Clements said.
It offers eight diesel lanes, 12 gasoline lanes, five showers, 69 parking spaces, a McDonald’s, PJ Fresh and more.
Food available is more than typical hot dogs on rollers; it also includes home-cooked favorites, like meat loaf and soups, plus soft drinks, coffee and grocery items.
Illinois, Missouri, New York, and even Alaska — these are all common license plates seen while visiting Grand Junction’s new Pilot Flying J travel station at the diamond interchange off Interstate 70’s Exit 26.
With its opening on July 14, it also hired 45 Grand Valley residents, including Daphne Barnes of Grand Junction.
“I love it here,” Barnes said. “It’s great to see different people every day.”
According to Diane Schwenke, president of Grand Junction’s Chamber of Commerce, planning for the Pilot Flying J, along with another new travel center — called Love’s — were in the works for three years.
Schwenke explained it was to accommodate the redesign of the diamond interchange
Love’s travel center opened only a month before in June — it boasts a Carl’s Jr., 80 truck parking spaces, seven showers and an on-site Love’s Truck Tire Care Center. It’s location is across from the Pilot Flying J off of I-70.
“We have two very well recognized national chains here now,” Schwenke said, “which should help keep visitors in the area and capture those just driving through.
“It’s just one more arrow in the quiver as being a regional hub for products and services.”
Kregg Clements, general manager of Grand Junction’s Pilot Flying J, said the new pit stop is projected to add an additional $3 million in tax revenue for the area.
And, according to Schwenke, two new travel centers don’t “split the pie;” rather it helps the region grow.
“It captures the whole market looking for more choices instead of stopping at just one location,” she explained.
Although it’s too soon to tell, Schwenke believes Pilot Flying J and Love’s will bring more people to town — for both quick stops on the way through as well as overnight stays.
“Especially those with no agenda, they will extend into the valley and see all it has to offer,” Schwenke said. “Once they see we have 2,500 hotel rooms along with attractions like Dinosaur Journey Museum and other stops, it will be sure to impact the area.”
Suzie Miller, with Mesa County Workforce Center, helped facilitate the hiring events for Pilot Flying J. While the two new travel centers created more than 80 jobs total, Miller said it also impacted the economy with indirect jobs outside the travel centers.
“It means the chain-supply ripple effect is going on,” she noted, plus newly hired employees will be spending paychecks on goods and services in the valley.
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.