By Colleen Lehmann
Lambo’s Travel Center opened its newest facility last Wednesday, in Tuscola, with little fanfare but ever growing public interest and support. The under-the-radar start was deliberate, says owner Mike Lanman, to help his staff get their bearings and work out any kinks before making a more public announcement.
It certainly didn’t take long for word to leak out, and since the July 16, 2014 soft opening, the 24-hour travel center has been hopping with customers, as well as curious locals wanting to check out Tuscola’s newest business. And an impressive one it is. The 7,000-square foot travel center/convenience store is just that … packed with just about any convenience a traveler could want, and boasting a stylish décor not typically found in such a facility.
Lanman was quick to point out that city fathers have been an essential component in the Tuscola Lambo’s coming to fruition, after three years of outside delays and hurdles.
“I hope the citizens realize how progressive-minded and what long-range thinkers their city officials are. It’s not like that everywhere, as I have experienced in my business. It has truly been a pleasure working with [city administrator] Drew Hoel, [TEDI director] Brian Moody, Mayor Dan Kleiss and all the staff, and had it not been for their help and hard work, this might not have gotten off the ground. They are excellent partners to work with, and that is why Tuscola’s arrow is definitely pointing up,” he said.
He is equally pleased with his new staff of 15 full-time employees, saying, “I am really impressed with the caliber of workers we have hired. They have hit the ground running, know how to treat customers, and are catching on to everything we’ve thrown at them. I couldn’t be happier with them.”
Tuscola Lambo’s features 12 BP gas pumps in front of the building, and in the rear are several pumps for truckers, including bulk diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Customers can take advantage of reward programs and discount pricing on fuel purchases.
A two-bay car wash will soon be up and running on the west side of the property. Inside there is the convenience store, with cold and room temperature items available. Sandwiches, snacks, toiletries, novelty items, K1 kerosene, ice and more are all available for purchase. You might want to try something at the shake/smoothie station (120 milkshakes sold the first day), and in a nod to fellow businesspeople, there is a display featuring Flesor’s Candy Kitchen’s goodies.
A fully stocked liquor store featuring all manner of spirits, wines, import and domestic beers takes up one side of the store, and in the rear is a video gaming room.
And let’s be honest … one of the primary reasons for pulling into a travel center, aside from getting gas, is to use the restroom. Odd as it sounds, this is a restroom well worth your stop.
“I made a point of doing my research when it came to public restrooms. We wanted something that was nice looking, easy to keep clean, and welcoming, and I think we hit the mark,” says Lanman.
One of the other draws for Lambo will be a good-sized food area with a Cajun flair, featuring fried chicken, rice and beans, jambalaya, honey biscuits, and more. Employees are training on the equipment early this week, and Lanman anticipates having the food available by Wed., July 23.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal July 23, 2014 edition