By Jordan Missal
White’s Travel Center in Raphine plans to have a fully functioning pharmacy before the end of the year, a service owner Bobby Berkstresser says no other truck stop in the country offers.
It’s the latest example of Berkstresser’s single goal since buying the old White’s Truck Stop in 2010.
“If you’re a traveller and you are coming through Raphine, we want to be your destination,” Berkstresser said.
In addition to filling prescriptions, the MediShoppe Pharmacy will offer vitamins, toiletries and other products.
The pharmacy is part of a 25,000-square-foot expansion of the travel center that will also include a mini mall. Both are scheduled to open by January 2016.
The expansion will cost about $4 million, but Berkstresser believes that increased business will eventually pay for his investment.
About 4,000 travelers stop at White’s each day, Berkstresser says, but he hopes that number will grow to at least 5,000 after the expansion is finished.
Berkstresser said every traveler needs services on the road. He wants to meet all those needs in one stop.
In 2012, he brought Dr. Robert Marsh to the travel center to provide medical care to travelers. Marsh, recently named the 2014 Country Doctor of the Year, has a practice in northern Rockbridge County. Now he also has an office on the travel center grounds.
Rules governing physicians and pharmacies dictate that Marsh’s office and the pharmacy have to be in separate buildings, a White’s spokeswoman said. The pharmacy will accept prescriptions from any physician.
The travel center had 70 employees when Berkstresser bought it. Its staff has swelled to more than 250, and Berkstresser is planning even more growth.
The center recently opened a gym. There is even a pet wash in the works, part of the mini-mall. Travelers like to work out after a long day of driving, Berkstresser said, and three in 10 take their pets on the road with them.