Areas USA is pleased to announce it has been awarded a 15-year contract to operate three West Virginia Parkway travel plazas and one snack bar on one of the busiest highways in the United States. The contract is estimated to generate approximately $272 million in revenue over the term of the contract while employing hundreds of local residents.
The contract represents a partnership between Areas and the West Virginia Parkways Authority. The WVA Parkways Authority’s mission is to operate and maintain the West Virginia Turnpike safely and efficiently. It provides for the construction, development, and maintenance of 88 miles of interstate roads that constitute the West Virginia Turnpike.
The three travel plazas and snack bar are located on Route 77 where nearly 37 million vehicles cruise each year. The route treks along West Virginia’s scenic 88-mile-long parkway, running parallel to the spectacular New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
Areas will invest over $15 million into the project and beginning in early 2023, each location will be completely redesigned featuring state-of-the-art amenities encompassing the surrounding natural beauty.
Travelers will be greeted by celebrated brands such as Starbucks, Wendy’s, Popeye’s, and Firehouse Subs. In addition, each location features Areas’ own Mountain State Market travel convenience stores offering an authentic sense of place with natural design elements, local artwork, and artisanal offerings from the surrounding community. During the warmer months, Areas will host farmers’ markets featuring local entrepreneurs and musicians to showcase the eclectic bounty from the West Virginia Mountains.
Areas strives to become part of the fabric of each community it serves by partnering with local community organizations. This includes cultivating employment opportunities through the “Second Chance Act” program, as well as developing a training and recruitment program with the New River Community and Technical College and the ProStart Restaurant Management program for high school students.
Other decisive factors in Areas’ successful bid include innovation in sales formats, a focus on new technological solutions, and a robust customer service platform exuding authentic southern hospitality. Areas will also collaborate with the West Virginia Tourism Commission and the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association to cross-promote the state’s tourism marketing plans. This partnership will ensure Areas remains connected and engaged with the local community throughout the life of the 15-year term.
“Areas USA is a world-renowned leader in travel plaza operations, and we could not be happier that they will partner with the WV Turnpike in the operations of our upcoming world-class facilities,” says Jeff Miller, executive director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority. “Through a competitive bid process Areas submitted a proposal that absolutely fit our vision for what we want to offer motorists and patrons who travel our road and visit our facilities. From outstanding food concepts to outdoor dining ideas and their concept of establishing a Mountain State Market, we are very pleased that they have joined us in developing what we feel will be a first-class service experience while embracing and showcasing all that WV has to offer.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of the West Virginia community and look forward to showcasing the magnificence of the Mountain State,” says Carlos Bernal, CEO of Areas USA. “Guests will encounter an exceptional experience rich in local heritage at all three travel plazas. From outdoor spaces featuring farmers’ markets, craft shows, and pop-up local attractions to celebrated national brands and local concepts. These plazas are destinations for refueling but also for recharging, relaxing, and preparing for the journey ahead.”
Areas USA is a subsidiary company of Areas. Established in 1968 in Barcelona, Spain the company has become a global leader in the travel hospitality industry generating over $2 billion in annual revenue.
The global company has operations in 87 airports, 236 motorway plazas, and 80 train stations in 10 countries. Each year, Areas welcomes 350 million customers in 1,900 restaurants and stores located in major transportation hubs, exhibition centers, and leisure parks.
In 2006, Areas entered the US market with its first hospitality contract at Miami International Airport. The US company continued to secure long-term contracts to operate all travel plazas on the Florida Turnpike in 2009 and the Maryland Turnpike in 2012, in addition to winning long-term contracts in several additional major airports.
Today, Areas USA operates in 9 airports and 10 travel plazas across 11 US states and currently manages a total of 136 outlets. Areas USA is poised for rapid growth and remains a core focus of the company’s international expansion plans.