May 2 will mark the end of an era for Farris Truck Stop in Faucett, Missouri, and it will be a day filled with bittersweet emotions.
After that, Farris will become a Pilot Flying J and current owner Mike Farris will hand over the keys to the establishment.
Amber Cox, an employee at Farris Truck Stop for the past five years, has known the business to be a safe haven throughout her young life.
“To me, it’s always been my special place. It’s always been my home. When I didn’t have nothing else, I had Farris,” Cox said.
She said Mike Farris is the best boss she has ever worked for and added that being employed at the family-owned business has changed her whole life.
Truck drivers from all over frequent the establishment. Regular customers who stop by just to say hello and to catch up share commonalities with those who work there. Workers learned the names of all of them and know exactly what they need when they come in.
“Everybody here is family,” said Tina Masterson, an employee of seven years at Farris Truck Stop. “If we don’t see somebody, we’re wondering where they’re at. We’re calling and checking on them. We see the same people every day. Every trucker, we just know them all by name. We all joke around. It’s just family.”
The property houses both the convenience store and Big Rigs Restaurant, which is attached to the truck stop. The owners of Big Rigs, Patrick and Rachel Kelley, said it’s upsetting that the restaurant won’t be able to stay once the new owner takes over in a couple of weeks. They said the plan is for them to rebuild and open Big Rigs again at a different location while bringing the same crew they have now along for the journey.
“I have a good crew that’s been with me for eight years. We all plan on sticking together and opening back up,” Rachel Kelley said.
The restaurant section of the truck stop will still remain, just not as Big Rigs.
“They told us we have this date approximate to be done and that was it, but that’s business,” Patrick Kelley said. “The home-cooked food, that’s hard to find any more for some of the truckers up and down the highway. They’re all already expressing their concerns for losing that.”
The biggest question mark is whether the truck stop sign, with the business name painted prominently on the side of a semi-truck raised up on a high stand just off of Interstate 29, will remain. Masterson said she understands the plan is for it to stay.