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Transportation business receives electric co-op rebates for travel center supporting truckers and local residents

People in front of truck

Compass Travel Center general manager Rick Farias (center) with Heather Hayes (left), communications specialist at Jasper County REMC, and Stephanie Johnson, marketing and member services manager for the co-op. Hayes and Johnson worked with Farias on the Power Moves rebates for Compass Travel Center.

A cashier at Compass Travel Center was surprised when a truck driver hauled more than 50 bags of Macedonian snack crisps to the counter.

It wasn’t a delivery. It was a purchase.

“The guy hadn’t eaten the crisps in like 40 years and saw them here, so he bought the whole case,” said Rick Farias, general manager of Compass Travel Center. “That was neat.”

The new travel center offers unique products and services to truckers crisscrossing the country. It also garnered the attention of nearby residents – and received support from the local electric cooperative.

Napolitanke wafers from Croatia are among the international snacks people can purchase at the Compass Travel Center. The success of the international foods has led to the travel center doubling the space for more products.

The Compass Travel Center in DeMotte, Indiana, received more than $25,000 in Power Moves® rebates from Jasper County REMC for energy efficient lighting and HVAC upgrades. The travel center, which opened in December 2022 and includes a Dunkin’ franchise and Roadhouse Grill, bills itself on its website as a “one-stop shop for drivers’ needs.” It’s also the newest business for Compass Holding, a Burr Ridge, Illinois-based trucking services provider with more than a dozen companies supporting truck drivers and businesses with truck fleets.

“As a driver, he knew that I-65 was a heavily traveled road,” Farias said of Compass Holding founder and CEO Roy Dobrasinovic. “He saw this as an opportunity to be a staging area before drivers go into Chicago, and they can stay here and feel rested.”

The Compass Travel Center features several restaurants, including a Dunkin’ franchise. Community residents have been among those buying food and coffee from the location.

Farias worked with staff members at Jasper County REMC on the Power Moves rebates. The financial support led to Compass Travel Center installing more energy efficient lighting, which uses less electricity and saves money on long-term energy costs.

“Anything that helps a small business is always welcomed,” Farias said. “Roy was very happy with it. It helps him continue to look at doing other things, so that does help as a motivation.”

Compass Travel Center offers 30 feet of retail counter space for international foods, including meat and snacks from Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Italy and Slovenia. The successful volume of international food sales led the business to nearly double the product space from when it opened. Compass also added shopping baskets after people were tossing armloads of groceries on the checkout counter.

“It has a bit of a European market feel,” said Stephanie Johnson, marketing and member services manager for Jasper County REMC. “The owner knows that a lot of truck drivers come from other countries, and he has made this a place for them.”

Flags on travel center counter

The top of one of the grocery cases in Compass Travel Center. The travel center sells meat and snacks from multiple European countries, including Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia.

Sales in the store and restaurants have exceeded expectations, Farias said. Area residents have traveled from more than an hour away to buy food in the market, and locals also have been enjoying the Roadhouse Grill and Dunkin’. The travel center employs 120 people.

“We have been thrilled to welcome Compass Travel Center and appreciate their support of our community,” said Jon Rich, president and CEO of Jasper County REMC. “Our co-op is invested in their success, and we look forward to developing a long and thriving partnership.”

Originally from Montenegro, Dobrasinovic moved to the U.S. in 1997 and worked as a truck driver before starting his first business in 1999. Compass Holding’s businesses include truck leasing and sales, financial services, trucking insurance and truck operations management software.

Travel center exterior

Trucks refueling at the Compass Travel Center in DeMotte, Ind. The business received $25,000 in Power Moves® rebates from Jasper County REMC, its local electric cooperative, for energy efficient lighting and HVAC upgrades that lower long-term energy costs. The travel center features multiple amenities popular with truck drivers and local residents.

Compass Holding previously purchased a small truck stop in Illinois before building the Compass Travel Center, which includes 10 high-speed diesel pumps, laundry and shower facilities, and even a showroom for truck leasing and sales. Compass Holding owns nearly 50 acres next to the travel center in DeMotte, and business officials have started discussing future development.

“Roy’s idea was to have the ability to touch every driver with the different businesses he has,” Farias said. “This is another way to complete the full circle of trucking support. He wants to build a lot more, too.”

CASE STUDY

Home in One

An initial phone call that teed off fundraising for a new community center in Albion, Ind., landed an unexpected home: a former longtime local golf course clubhouse sitting dormant. And the local electric co-op was there with Power Moves rebates to support the center’s opening.