Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is an American retail company with over 500 locations in 41 states. Founded in 1939, the company is privately owned and is headquartered in Oklahoma City. The company was named the 17th largest private company in the United States by Forbes in 2019. In 2019, the chain ranked as the No. 17 largest company by revenue in the United States. The Love’s name is synonymous with convenience. The stores offer a wide variety of grocery, convenience, and gift items to consumers and travelers on the road.
The Loves’ company revenues reached nearly $2 billion in 2003, and the business operated 150 Travel Stops and Country Stores throughout the state. The family had a strong connection with the community, and gave millions to the city to establish an Entrepreneurship Center to train the next generation of leaders. Tom Love was a passionate proponent of Oklahoma business, and was involved in many civic groups. He served as the chairman of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable in 2001. In addition to his retailing ventures, he was an avid supporter of Oklahoma tourism, which included a large billboard for the state.
In 1977, Love’s leased its first filling station in Watonga, Oklahoma, and opened stations in nearby small towns. Musket Corp. grew to more than 40 stations in less than two decades. In the Arab Oil Embargo, Love’s gained more loyal customers and won the Daytona 500 in 2021. In Guymon, Oklahoma, the Loves established the first gas station-convenience store, called Country Stores, for $300,000. In the same year, they established their first restaurant in Guymon, the Musket.
In addition to the love for food, love for friendship is a very powerful emotion. It is one of the strongest human bonds, and is often called “philia.” Lewis differentiated the two types of love by describing friendship as the least biological and organic. In Lewis’s definition, friendship is the highest form of love. In other words, it is a relationship of mutual trust and dependence. Moreover, it is a strong and passionate attachment.
During the Arab Oil Embargo, Love’s operations were split into two units. In 1993, the company had nearly 40 filling stations in the state. Its revenue in Oklahoma City, including the booming economy, was over $2 billion in 2003. In addition to their own company, the Loves were also philanthropists. They had a passion for Oklahoma, and the two loved each other’s children. During the Gulf War, the couple financed the development of a large billboard in Norman.
In 2003, Love’s revenues were nearing $2 billion, and they had nearly three hundred stations. However, the company’s operations split in two separate units in the fall of that year. The family remained active in community affairs, and even financed the creation of an entrepreneurship center at Oklahoma City University. In 2001, the Love’s Family Foundation provided funding to start the Oklahoma Business Roundtable. It also supported numerous civic organizations and created a tourism billboard in Guymon, Oklahoma.