The Love's Country Store at Interstate 44 and SW 89 showed off its new look Wednesday with “a lot of enhancements” meant to improve customers' experience there.
The store, which has been open since 1988, now sports a new brick exterior, bigger restrooms, more indoor seating and state-of-the-art dispensers for frozen yogurt and frozen beverages.
In all, Oklahoma City-based Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores spent about $400,000 on the store's makeover, part of a growing remodeling effort for its neighborhood convenience stores in this region.
“It's just meeting the needs of the customers,” said Mike Herman, director of Love's stores. “They tell us what they want and then it's just figuring out a way to do it.”
Some of the changes at the store south of Oklahoma City Community College are noticeable to passers-by, but some require visitors to step inside.
Herman said officials tried to make the remodeled store more shoppable and comfortable, with new lighting and earth-tone floors and walls.
“It's brighter,” he said. “It gives you a more open feeling.”
Such renovations can be difficult because many Love's stores don't have any room to grow.
Herman said he spent a lot of time searching for the right amenities for the new look.
He is proud of touch-screen frozen yogurt and drink machines that have been added to the SW 89 store.
Even though they occupy only about 6 feet of wall space, the machines are capable of dispensing 17 yogurt options and 11 drink options. Many of those choices can be mixed together at the touch of a button.
“It's pretty cutting-edge,” Herman said.
The new amenities are available in only four Love's stores now, but officials plan to expand those offerings to up to 14 more locations this year.
Love's spokeswoman Jenny Love Meyer said the new offerings mirror the company's evolution. Oklahoma is home to a lot of older stores, but Meyer said the company aims to serve the needs of its customers as it expands.
“It sounds very easy, but it is very difficult to execute,” she said.
Meyer praised the Love's officials who helped get the remodeling project done Wednesday morning during a short ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by representatives of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and dozens of yellow-shirted Love's employees.
“None of this happens by accident,” she said.
Oklahoma City Councilman David Greenwell praised Love's for its contribution to the community.
He said the company and its employees help make Oklahoma City a great place to live.
Chamber representative Jeanean Castle offered a similar sentiment.
“It's always a special day when we get to celebrate expanded, improved or new businesses in our city,” she said.
To mark the occasion, Love's donated $2,000 to the Children's Hospital Foundation of Oklahoma and employees spent a couple of hours cleaning, painting and picking up trash at nearby Woodson Park.