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Petro Jerry Fritts, Jr. West Memphis Stopping Center offers a warm welcome and a little bit of home

By on May 6, 2015
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The Petro West Memphis may have a new name, but it’s just as friendly as it’s always been.

Now the “Jerry Fritts, Jr. Stopping Center,” it honors the 2014 Citizen Driver of the same name. Fritts says he picked West Memphis to bear his name because it’s close to his home, but also because it feels a little like home to him.

“When I came for the award ceremony, the staff couldn’t have been any sweeter,” says Fritts. “The manager, Justin, is just a really nice young fellow — everyone there is, really. I felt very quickly that I became part of the family.”

The feeling of being welcome is something drivers often mention at Petro West Memphis. The Iron Skillet serves up hometown specials like Memphis BBQ and Thanksgiving dinner. They’ve hosted driver appreciation events with a band and 021_petrowestmemallyou-can-eat dinner. They’ve also got one of the oldest Petro chapels in the country for drivers who need a moment of peace or reflection. Most of all, they are people who understand the value of a heartfelt hello — and drivers notice that.

“There is a server in the restaurant named Helen SanJuan who is one of the best servers I believe I have ever seen in a truckstop environment, or even in a restaurant,” says Store Manager Justin Foster. “She is wonderful and has a lot of people who know her and come back to see her.”

Getting what you need

Petro West Memphis also has all the amenities drivers need and want: 043_petrowestmemReserve-It Parking, an on-site barbershop, a truck service center and a drivers lounge with DirecTV and NFL Sunday ticket. They’re adding a new women’s restroom and building brand new showers. If drivers don’t have time to sit down and eat, they can pick up some grab-and-go food from Petro Filling Station or a treat from Breyers ice cream. And if they’re paying attention, they might even catch a glimpse of a local celebrity in the parking lot.

“We have a wrestler, Sid Eudy, who comes in quite often,” Foster says. “He was called ‘Sid Vicious’ back in his WCW days, and now he does our landscaping. He’s a very intimidating individual.”

Hard work, recognized

017_petrowestmemNo matter who or what you see at Petro West Memphis, Jerry Fritts’ wall is hard to miss. After 46 years on the road and 5 million accident-free miles, Fritts believes in giving back. He manages shelters and donates countless hours to disaster relief efforts through the Red Cross. He volunteers for organizations that work with people who are unemployed. And he’s even developed his own physical rehabilitation program, losing more than 80 pounds.

“We keep Jerry’s wall decorated, and a lot of drivers just stand there and read his whole story,” says Foster. “015_petrowestmemThe trucking industry’s gotten a bad rap, but this really helps people see that there are good truck drivers out there — and that they’re good people.”

Fritts is proud to share his name with people who understand the value of hard work.

“It’s unique for a big company such as TA and Petro to share their brand with people like me — a ‘blue collar executive’ as I like to call myself,” Fritts says, laughing. “You always see big buildings and stadiums with company names on them, but my name is on their building! TA and Petro actually chooses people to share their brand with them. It’s a nice recognition for the working people of the world.”

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Petro West Memphis

Where: I-40, Exit 280; I-55, Exit 4
Phone: (870) 702-5540
Fax: (870) 702-5547
Truck Parking Spaces: 280
Showers: 17
Truck Service Bays: 6
Restaurants: Iron Skillet, Breyers, Petro Filling Station

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