In November, a pickup truck pulled into the Old Town Truck Stop on the way to the airport.
When the truck driver, a retired Army captain named Chris, spotted the pickup in his rearview mirror, he gave it a thumbs up.
Then he opened the driver’s door and asked the driver to sit down.
“It was just him and me,” Chris said.
They sat down and Chris put the truck on the road.
The truck drove away for about five minutes, then Chris called his wife, Mary, who was waiting in her car.
She went into the store and picked up a pair of scissors and began cutting out an old-fashioned sign with the words, “I love you.”
“The sign that I saw in my rearview was just a picture of me and my wife cutting up a truck sign,” Chris says.
“I thought, ‘I am the love of my life, so I am going to make a sign with my own name.'”
After they had finished, they drove back to the Old City.
They kept the sign and used it as a billboard, advertising a pickup-truck rental company called F150 Truck Rental.
They were soon selling trucks to big truckers, and they kept up the marketing.
In June, they made the leap to a new level.
They called it “Old Town Truck Roring.”
It was the first truck stop in the world that was completely owned by its customers.
“We’re not like other places,” Chris told me.
“The owners of the truck are our friends.
We can’t make it for ourselves.”
When the Oldtown Truck Rearing was purchased in July 2018, Chris and his wife decided to open the first Old Town truck stop on the West Coast.
“This is our dream,” he says.
The name “Oldtown” refers to the “Old City,” a city on the southern tip of New Jersey that was settled by Roman soldiers in AD 40.
“Our goal is to create a place where we can be ourselves and have our own company,” he said.
The first trucks came with an open-top cab and two full-size cab options: a truck with a pickup bed and a cab with a trailer.
“Old town” trucks come in different sizes, and the size of each truck determines the amount of room it can hold.
A trailer with a bed is generally more comfortable for larger trucks than a truck without.
In the early days, the trucks were usually small, and Chris says he wanted to make sure they were not just “little trucks.”
“I wanted to be a truck stop,” he explained.
“Not a big, tall, heavy truck stop.”
The idea for Old Town came when the couple’s son, David, was trying to get a license plate.
“There’s no room for two trucks in a single trailer,” he told Chris.
“So I wanted a place that’s going to accommodate the big guys.”
He was also trying to do his dad’s bidding.
“David was a big trucker,” Chris explained.
The father’s son is a licensed trucker, so Chris offered to take his son to a pickup stop in New York City and to make arrangements to lease a truck from his son.
“When we got there, we just said, ‘Let’s do it,'” Chris said of his son’s first visit to the trucking store.
“He’s a little boy, and he was a little bit nervous.
He was nervous to see a truck in the store, so he wanted us to take care of it for him.”
The truckers who drove their trailers in New Jersey were the “big guys” because they had a lot of trucks.
When Chris and Mary bought the truck, they had no idea that a big company owned it, but they liked the idea.
“If you’re a big guy, you should drive a truck, too,” Mary said.
“Big guys can be nice.
Big trucks can be scary.”
The first truck they sold in New England, a two-toned pickup, sold out within a month.
It was a testament to the customer loyalty of the OldTown Truck Rowing team that in the summer of 2020, a second truck was ready to be leased, and its owner, a trucker named Paul, bought it for $20,000.
Paul’s wife, Karen, was in New Mexico with her son, and Paul told her he was going to take her and their son to Old Town and rent the truck.
Karen told Paul she was going with him, and when Paul left for the trip, she texted him: “We should go to Old City.”
She called Chris to check in and see if they were going to be there.
“Oh, no,” Chris responded.
“They can’t do that.”
Karen drove Paul to the parking lot of the old Old Town Hotel, which is now