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Petro Ontario has undergone more than a name change

By on May 15, 2014

Drivers who haven’t been through Ontario, Calif., for a while might be surprised to see the Petro Stopping Centers sign as they travel down I-10. They’ll be even more surprised when they take Exit 57 and arrive at the site.

The previous TA Ontario East became a Petro in September 2013, but the transformation has been marked by more than a couple of new signs. Sure, those have changed, but everything from  light fixtures to staff uniforms has  been upgraded.

There’s barely an area on the site that hasn’t seen some sort of revamping or remodeling. From a restaurant overhaul to additional dining options and an expanded merchandise selection, drivers are getting more choices and services.

New interior and exterior paint add to the fresh look, and the store received new fixtures and a reworked floor plan so that newer, and more, merchandise could be added to the displays.

“A lot of customers tell us that they are glad to have the change to Petro,” says Louie Perez, store general manager.

Driver namesake

Another new sign is going up at Petro Ontario: Citizen Driver Award recipient Shawn Hubbard chose the location as his favorite, and so it will bear his name. The signs for Shawn Hubbard Ontario Stopping Center at each entrance are just the start. A plaque will also go up in a prominent place, telling visitors the story of this notable truck driver.

Food, glorious food

A new full-menu Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen opened on-site in March, and it has proven to be a driver favorite. The restaurant, now an Iron Skillet also was remodeled.

“That was a really big facelift,” says Perez. “We gutted the dining and food-prep areas, added a salad bar, and then put in all new tables and lighting in a new configuration.”

Familiar faces

Perez, with 24 years on the job, is one of many longtime employees at the location. “My assistant manager, Dorothy Watson-Luna, has been here for 15 years, and our bookkeeper, Cathy Lopez, has been here since the location opened in 1983,” he says. Other longtime employees include Trini Flores who, like Lopez, goes
back to the opening days; Vicenta Estrada and Guillermo Villarreal, 1987; Faustino  Casteneda and Fili Garcia, 1989; and Luis Baez, 1990.

“It’s a great place to work, and our customers really like seeing the same people every time they come through,” Perez says.

It’s a natural

Everyone has been talking about liquefied natural gas, and Petro Ontario is set to be one of the first locations in the TA/Petro Stopping Centers network to offer LNG at the pump. The equipment installation process has begun, and service is expected to come online following a grand opening in May.

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