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Love’s now planning full restaurant openings

Pecos' new Love's Travel Center will have all its food offerings in place, when it opens for business sometime later this year, after concerns that the local housing shortage would make it difficult for the track stop to find enough workers.

Love's is currently building the travel center on the southeast corner of the U.S. 285 interchange with Interstate 20, and the store will have a McDonald's, a Subway and a Chester's Chicken when it opens for business, according to the company's communications director.

"We're looking at November as the opening date for the Subway and Chester's Chicken and the McDonald's will open a little bit after that," said Jenny Loves Meyer.

Town of Pecos City officials were told earlier this year that Love’s was considering delaying the opening of the McDonald’s due to the shortage of workers in the area. City council members were told the restaurant’s shell would be built, but would not open until enough workers could be found.

Pecos has been without a McDonald's for a decade, after the El Paso owner of the restaurant shut the doors on the store at Cedar and Walthall streets, which originally opened in 1990.

Then-owner Richard Castro said he shut the store at the time due to lack of volume. Castro also shut another McDonald's at the same time on the south side of Midland due to a lack of sales and problems with staffing. That store was torn down, but was recently rebuilt and reopened in May as a 24-hour restaurant, and with a new area franchise owner, who will also operate the new Pecos location.

"We won't operate the McDonald's, but we'll operate the other two," said Meyer.

The Subway will be the second in Pecos and the second on I-20, to go along with the one currently in the Stripes store at Country Club Drive. Meyer said that Chester's Chicken is a chicken concept that usually goes into non-traditional type settings.

Along with the new truck stop, Oklahoma City-based Love's is also planning to put a new Microtel hotel on the south side of I-20, and is also in the process of building new apartments for their employees, to have workers housing locally that has been a problem for many area businesses over the past three years.

"The apartments will be strictly for our employees, so we usually don't publish that," Meyer said.

Pecos Economic Development Corp. President Bill Oglesby said last month that the apartments would be located across town, near where Reeves County Hospital is building their own small apartment facility to house hospital staff.

"They know there's a housing shortage at this time, and they're trying to have some solution until the housing in Pecos catches up," Ogelsby said of the Love's apartments.

Love's has committed to the creation of at least 30 new jobs with their projects, and are working with the city to get a $750,000 Texas Capital Fund grant, for the expansion of water and sewer lines south of I-20. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.19 million.

Jerry Carbijal with GrantWorks, the firm processing the grant application, told city council members last month Pecos would have to pat the remaining $436,000 of the project.

Carbijal said Love's has a 6-7 month construction time period for the new truck stop, while the Texas Department of Agriculture requires Texas Capital Fund projects to be completed in 36 months.