The Comforts of Home

Compass Travel Center offers European food delights and a focus on trucker amenities.

The Comforts of Home

May 2024   minute read

By: Sarah Hamaker

Name of company:
Compass Travel Center

Year founded:

# of stores:


Compass Travel Center is more than a stop—it’s a destination along I-65 in Demotte, Indiana.

Its owner, Roy Dobrasinovic, is a former professional truck driver from Montenegro, so when he bought the property in 2014, he wanted to build a home away from home for truckers. The travel center first opened its doors in 2022.

Home Comforts

Dobrasinovic “makes sure Compass Travel Center has all the comforts of home for our truckers,” said Rick Farias, general manager. The center boasts eight showers, a driver’s laundry room and 85 semi-truck parking spots. “Plus, we have arcade games and massage chairs—it’s these little things that show we care about our customers,” he added.

But what makes the center unique is its treats and snacks from Europe, including candies, meats by the pound, chocolates, sausages, smoked beef and ham, a variety of cheeses and many kinds of European packaged beverages. Bureks, similar to potpies, are one of the unusual and popular food items. “Because of the owner’s European background, he wanted to bring in those foods and drinks popular overseas,” Farias said. “It’s been a huge hit with our customers, since they can get items here that aren’t available any place else.”

Because Dobrasinovic is a former trucker, he added special amenities for them, including a showroom with trucks for sale and Bob’s Chrome Shop. On the Trucker’s Path app, Compass is ranked third among independent truck stops and fourth overall in the United States. “These are things that truckers both need and enjoy exploring when stopping with us,” Farias said. “Of course, we have 10 high-speed clean diesel islands and 24 fueling positions, which offer gasoline, auto-diesel, E85 and E15, along with air for tires. In addition, we’ve recently added a pool table and darts for more entertainment options, and will offer live music on Thursdays. This summer, we will be opening a patio dining area.”

Compass has a double-drive thru Dunkin’, a Hunt Brothers Pizza and its full-service Roadhouse Grill concept serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a three-way license to offer wine, beer and liquor.

Community Connections

Two billboards welcome truckers and tourists to stop at Compass Travel Center. “We do a lot of our own promotions and advertisements on the 20 TVs throughout the complex and on our gas and diesel dispensers, letting our customers know about truck and trailer leasing, factoring, smart board, restaurant specials, groceries or gifts we have available,” Farias said.

The store connects with the community through participation in local events via the chamber of commerce and other nonprofit opportunities, such as the annual Touch of Dutch Festival. “We gladly give away a lot but we’re fairly new in the community and we want to be part of the local area to get our name out there,” he said.

But the best advertisement comes from the employees. “Our management team has a ton of experience in the industry. For example, Phil Brauchla, director of operations, has 34 years of experience and I have 31 years in the industry, and that shows with how we manage our people,” Farias said. “We’ve always been more people-minded in trying to reduce turnover and create a positive work environment.”

Bright Ideas

For Rick Farias, general manager of Compass Travel Center in Demotte, Indiana, the best advice for convenience retailers is to take chances. “Don’t be afraid to try new things,” he said. “You should track and evaluate them, tweak them if necessary to make them work in your store, and say it doesn’t work if that’s the case.”

He credits a willingness to see how different ideas, products or services work for the Compass facility as how they’ve kept the concept fresh and exciting for their core customers and visitors alike. “You need to see what works for you in your situation, because everywhere is different.”

Compass sets the tone with a warm welcome during the new employee orientation, which includes a facility tour, staff introductions and a talk about the company culture and expectations. “We want each member of our staff to know the expectations and to make sure they can achieve success while working here,” Farias said. “All of our managers have an open-door policy for suggestions or concerns, along with monthly manager and safety meetings.”

While he acknowledged on open-door policy might feel unstructured, “the relaxed atmosphere cultivates a very open communication style among employees and management staff.” The emphasis on communication has reduced annual turnover to 20% or under. “When we hire someone, we focus on the things we can’t train, such as having a positive attitude,” Farias said. “So once they’re here, they can grow and flourish with training and the opportunities for advancement we give them.”

Overall, Compass Travel Center’s goal is to “make customers feel welcome and wanting to come back, to make this a destination, not just a stop,” he said. “I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Sarah Hamaker

Sarah Hamaker

Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer, NACS Magazine contributor, and romantic suspense author based in Fairfax, Virginia. Visit her online at

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