The travel center progresses | News, Sports, Jobs

– Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

Sheila and Kevin Stumpf, owners of the Marker 126 Travel Center stand in front of the construction progress of the project. The project began in October and is expected to be completed this summer.

DUNCOMBE — In just four months, travelers crossing Iowa on U.S. Highway 20 will have a new place to stretch their legs, fill up their gas tanks, grab a bite to eat and top up on caffeine.

The construction of the 10,000 square foot Marker 126 Travel Center, located at 2339 Poplar Ave. south of Duncombe, is expected to be completed this summer, with a tentative opening date in the first week of August, owner Kevin Stumpf told The Messenger.

After initial rejection from some members of the local community who were unhappy with Stumpf’s proposal to build a travel center on the site, the Webster County Board of Supervisors approved his application for the rezoning of the land from an agricultural preservation designation to a general commercial designation in September.

Marker 126, named for its location near mile marker 126 on U.S. Highway 20, will have a convenience store as well as a restaurant named Table 126 and a cafe called Brew 126.

“We want to provide a premium experience and coffee is quite a popular item,” said co-owner Sheila Stumpf. “It kind of goes hand in hand with travel – sometimes you need a little caffeine for your trip.”

-Image submitted

This rendering shows a southeast aerial view of the final design of the Marker 126 Travel Center, located at the intersection of Poplar Avenue and U.S. Highway 20. The Travel Center is expected to be completed this summer and open in August .

The convenience store will still have self-serve brewed coffee, she said, but the cafe will offer espressos and specialty coffee drinks.

The cafe and restaurant will have plenty of seating options, Kevin Stumpf said.

“There will be a mezzanine above the restaurant for additional seating, and then there will also be an outside seating area at the back of the cafe,” he said.

There will also be an option to reserve space on the mezzanine for meetings, the Stumpfs said.

The travel center will have eight petrol dispensers and seven diesel dispensers.

– Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

Sande Construction construction workers work in the basement and food court area of ​​the Marker 126 Travel Center.

Construction of the Travel Center has made notable progress as the frame and exterior structure of the building has increased steadily over the past few months. It will have a unique architecture for the region, said Sheila Stumpf.

“The structure has a sort of mid-century modern vibe with lots of industrial touches too,” she says. “So it’s kind of a mix of the two types of design.”

Sande Construction & Supply Co. Inc. of Humboldt is the site contractor.

“They are doing a great job” said Kevin Stumpf.

The travel center represents an investment of around $6 million, Kevin Stumpf previously told The Messenger.

He said he believed some of the concern and resistance to the project was due to what was unknown.

“I think from the start they’ve been worried about whether we’re actually going to own it? Or are we going to sell it to a KwikStar or a Casey’s? » Stumpf said. “I’m a farmer and I’ve never done this before, but it’s my ambition. It’s my baby and I’m going to be proud of it.

Stumpf said his top priorities for the Travel Center are safety and cleanliness.

Stumpf said he sees a need for travelers along U.S. Highway 20 to be able to stop without traveling miles to a nearby town, and for travelers and their money to pass through Webster County without stopping. .

“It makes sense to have it just along the (Highway 20) corridor,” he said. “They won’t want to go up to 10 or 11 kilometers when they’ve been on the road for hours. They want to go down and up and go again.

There’s not much just off the freeway between Grundy Center to the east and Holstein to the west, Sheila Stumpf said.

“It’s a big dead space” she added.

Sparky’s One Stop, located at the junction of US Highway 20 and Iowa Highway 4 near Rockwell City in Calhoun County, burned down in November.

Marker 126 is already looking to hire staff. Kevin Stumpf said he estimates they will have 30-40 positions available. Initially, the store will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., but he noted the possibility of expanding hours if the need arises and staff are available.

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