Pilot Co. is upgrading more than 400 travel centers nationwide, including Midlands locations, through a three-year, $1 billion initiative.
The project, called New Horizons, is the company’s largest investment in store modernization and will fully refurbish Pilot and Flying J stores, according to a news release from the company. Improvements will include remodeled restrooms and showers, expanded kitchen and dining areas, enhanced driver-focused amenities and technology upgrades such as self-checkouts.
A Flying J travel center is located at 5901 Fairfield Road in Columbia.
“For 63 years, we’ve been proud to fuel millions of journeys and as we have done since our founding, we will continue to evolve the travel center experience to meet the changing needs of our guests and team members,” Shameek Konar, Pilot Co. CEO, said in the release. “We are listening to what our guests want most at our locations and how we can improve our offerings to make their travels easier and more enjoyable. New Horizons will incorporate this feedback as we overhaul our entire network to deliver on what our guests value today and prepare our stores for the future.”
The project will be completed in several phases, with the first phase now underway and more than 50 travel centers expected to be renovated this year, the company said.
Top-to-bottom store overhauls will include more energy-efficient lighting for parking lots, refaced store walls, new tile and fresh paint in restrooms with touchless fixtures, expanded lounge space and more variety in the store’s deli selections. The company will also equip stores with fueling alternatives including electric vehicle charging stations.
Community investment is also part of the New Horizons initiative, with the company expecting to donate more than $500,000 to support local school districts to provide students with equitable access to educational technology.
“Our team members are an integral part of the guest experience, and we want to equip them with the tools to succeed while furthering our commitment to being a great place to work,” Konar said. “With New Horizons, we are investing in the total Pilot experience, from our team members to our guests and to the communities we serve.”