Daleville truck stop closes, neighbor to the north booms

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ROCKBRIDGE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Construction at Interstate 81 Exit 150 in Daleville led to the closure of a popular truck stop. And now with one less place for fuel and food, travelers are looking elsewhere.

Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7

The business boom is just a short drive to the north. In the rural Shenandoah Valley, where thousands pass on I-81 There's a place so busy, you can hardly see the sign out front.

"I grew up about four miles from here, it was kind of one of my goals in life to own and operate White's and to see just what it could become," White's Travel Center Owner Bobby Berkstresser said.

White's Travel Center, Raphine exit number 205, the largest travel center on the East Coast. 700 big rigs in and out every day, staff always on the move, there's hardly a dull moment.

"In the seven years since we've been up here, we're up about 300 percent. We'll watch what our customer wants and as long as it works we'll keep on doing it," Berkstresser said.

Truck stops are big business. Two years ago the truck stop 50 miles to the south of here at Exit 150 in Daleville shut down and came to the ground for an exit redesign. Proving when one door closes, another one opens.

"Our business continues to grow even two years after that closed, our business year after year month on month we continue to grow over last year," Berkstresser said. "We have seen a big boost there for a couple months but then we were able to just because we've become that destination to offer the amenities we were able to keep a nice percentage of that business."

Diesel is way up and overall sales grew 20 percent since the closure. Drivers say they choose White's for a reason.

"For one, you got plenty of parking, the food in here is good, the people are pleasant and you can't ask for much more," Truck Driver Jim Flader said.

The Daleville stop closed for economic development, but off Exit 205 in this small but proud hometown, more travelers are just the economic development they want.

"We're really not just here to see what we can take out, this is what my family and I do every day," Berkstresser said.