At the southern Las Vegas Valley’s newest gas station, a 13-foot sasquatch catches the eye, but it’s got some competition.
The even taller cacti in front of the entrance for one. Or perhaps the nearly 4,000 square feet of candy store space soon to be filled with colorful treats, the first local drive-thru White Castle or the more than 90 fuel pumps.
And that’s by design, Terrible Herbst Marketing Vice President Mark Walters said Friday during a tour of the 50,000-square-foot travel center in Jean, about 30 miles south of Las Vegas.
“We’re building a unique experience,” Walters said. “We want to be the first stop into Las Vegas and the first stop leaving Las Vegas.”
When the center opens in a couple of weeks, it will be the world’s largest Chevron, with 96 fuel pumps, 60 restroom stalls and about 100 employees.
The building might bring to mind the Eddie World travel center in Yermo, California, which is about half the size.
Terrible Herbst also owns the operational Chevron across the street, where gas cost $3.89 a gallon Friday. That gas station will be scrapped, and plans for the land are not ready for discussion, Walters said.
The Jean travel center will be called Terrible’s Road House, once thought to be the new name for the Gold Strike casino the company bought across Interstate 15 from the center.
The company is still working on plans to renovate the casino, Walters said. His company will open its first gas station in Utah in about a month and is still working on a large-scale project in Indian Springs in the northwestern Las Vegas Valley.
Visitors to Terrible’s Road House will see the second-ever Jack Link’s beef jerky retail store. The brand, perhaps best-known for the sasquatch mascot whose statue stands in the travel center, opened a Minneapolis store in November.
A Red Bull-branded lounge area is the only brick-and-mortar Red Bull merchandise store in the country, Walters said. It will have phone charger stations.
An Advance Auto Parts store inside the travel center will sell 500 items. While typical Terrible Herbst convenience stores sell about 10,000 items, the travel center will sell 50,000.
The company is experimenting with different retail to sell, including head pillows, ceramic figurines and T-shirts branded for Las Vegas and its sports teams.
“We can switch out whatever isn’t working and promote whatever is,” Walters said. “Our goal is no one ever has to wait for anything.”
The candy store, still under construction, will sell old-fashioned candy in bulk, including licorice, gumdrops and candy necklaces. The travel center includes a counter for fudge made on site and display cases for bulk sales of beef jerky.
The travel center has 15 slot and video poker machines, a 30-foot coffee bar, 72 soda heads with Coca-Cola products and a machine that makes Coke-flavored frozen drinks in about 20 seconds.
The White Castle, which also will host a Monster Energy-branded lounge, will open sometime after the travel center.
Walters said about 50,000 cars travel that stretch of the interstate daily, including travelers from Los Angeles into Las Vegas and vice versa.
Good for Goodsprings
But the company wants Road House to become a resource for southern valley residents, including the town of Goodsprings just west of the travel center.
Down the street from the new travel center is perhaps its polar opposite, the Pioneer Saloon.
Built in 1913 with stamped tin walls that still hold bullet holes from a long-ago poker game gone wrong, the saloon housed several visitors from Los Angeles on Friday who stopped in for a drink and a look at the Clark Gable and Carole Lombard memorabilia.
Bartender Tom Sheckells said the travel center has helped bring inquisitive drivers down toward the bar and restaurant.
Before the local White Castle opens, he’s stuck driving 34 miles to the one on the Las Vegas Strip.
Some of his neighbors also hope to work at the center, Sheckells said.
“Everyone’s super-happy to have it,” he said.