Tucumcari Truck Stop closes

William Thompson

Tucumcari Truck Stop closed for the winter on Sunday and its owner said he’s looking to sell the business.
“We closed for the winter because it’s just not feasible to keep it open during the winter months,” said Armand Ortega, from his office in Arizona. “It will reopen in April unless I sell it.”

Ortega, who owns a number of stores in New Mexico, said he is considering placing an advertisement on the Internet to see if there is buyer interest. Tucumcari Truck Stop is on the far west end of town alongside old Route 66. It had four employees working in its food mart and gas station.
Stella Lawhon, manager of the truck stop for more than two years, said she asked Ortega if he would rent the business to her, but he declined.

“Mr. Ortega has owned the store for about three years,” Lawhon said. “He came down last week and told everybody it was closing. The customers have all been saying it’s a big loss for the community.” Ortega said he thinks a truck-stop operation would find the food and gas mart a good opportunity. The store and gas station are near a large building that used to serve as a truck-stop restaurant.

Lawhon agreed with Ortega that business had been slow of late. “Mr. Ortega said it just wasn’t making enough money for him,” she said. “It hasn’t been very busy.”
The Tucumcari Truck Stop operated in an isolated area more than a mile from Route 66’s main business district in town. Lawhon said the entire truck stop complex opened in 1975.