The 9,141-square-foot travel center features full amenities for area residents and the motoring public, including fast food and a wide variety of convenience items. It includes eight gasoline islands featuring high-speed fuel pumps that provide faster flow so customers can refuel quickly,
“We are thrilled to finally find the right spot in Cleveland to open our new Pilot Travel Center and serve our customers,” said Jimmy Haslam, president and chief executive officer of Pilot Flying J. “We know that the Cleveland area has been asking for a Pilot location for a while now, and we couldn’t be happier to fulfill those wishes and become a part of the Cleveland community. We are proud that this travel center will serve the local community through products and services as well as contribute to the local economy through jobs and tax revenue.”
Pilot Flying J was given preliminary and final plat approval by the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission during a special meeting on Feb. 21 that was called so the company could proceed with renovations and expansion of the former Horizon Travel Plaza at Exit 20. Plat approval was needed before the company could proceed with sewer realignment.
Cleveland City Councilman David May, who serves on the planning commission, at the time of the meeting equated the travel center to a small company with the 100 to 120 employees needed to run the operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The remodeled and expanded travel center includes eight diesel lanes behind the building, showers for truck drivers, a deli selection and convenience store. Another key feature is diesel exhaust fluid will be available at the pump.
The Cleveland location includes Subway and Cinnabon fast-food restaurants; a hot and cold food deli; clean restrooms; an ATM; Western Union; lottery and Lotto tickets; and general merchandise for highway travelers. A McDonald’s restaurant will open at the travel center in early August.
“We believe our familiar Pilot sign will be a welcome sight for interstate travelers and the motoring public. We invite Cleveland residents to visit our new location. Our staff takes great pride in providing the quality service our guests deserve,” said Jeff Hartwell, general manager for the Cleveland location.
The Pilot Travel Center in Cleveland is part of the network of more than 600 travel centers in the Pilot Flying J family, which serves more than 1.3 million customers every day across the U.S. and Canada. Pilot and Flying J merged in 2010, and both brands are still available on U.S. and Canadian highways.
The first Pilot was opened in 1958 in Gate City, Va., by James Haslam II, father of Gov. Bill Haslam. In 1976, Pilot opened its first convenience store, on Alcoa Highway in Knoxville. The next year, it bought Lonas Oil Co., of Knoxville and converted nearly all of its locations to convenience stores. After expanding to 100 convenience stores by 1981, the first Pilot Travel Center opened in Corbin, Ky. In 2010, Pilot Travel Centers purchased Flying J to form Pilot Flying J.
“Our premium hot beverages include gourmet specialty coffees from all over the world as well as Pilot’s house coffee. We also have a variety of fountain drinks and fresh brewed tea.”
As with all other Pilot Flying J locations, the Cleveland Pilot Travel Center honors the MyRewards loyalty card. Pilot Flying J launched the MyRewards loyalty program in March of this year but continues to honor existing Frequent Fueler Advantage cards.