Since it was first founded in 1948, Bosselman Enterprises has expanded from a single truck stop along Highway 30 in Grand Island to a business that covers 23 states with more than 1,400 employees.
Bosselman will soon begin a new chapter in its history: It is preparing to open a new corporate headquarters, hotel, upscale restaurant, liquor store and community center at the former Skagway south location, 1607 S. Locust, next to the Fonner Park complex.
The company hopes to move into its new facility by late April or early May, said CEO Charlie Bosselman.
Bosselman Enterprises is a privately-held family company in its third generation. It has been a leader in community service for nearly 70 years and has supported the Grand Island area through financial contributions, support of youth scholarships, community events and volunteer efforts of employees.
The company was founded in 1948 by Fred Bosselman, a farmer and part-time truck driver, and his wife, Maxine. The couple opened Bosselman & Eaton Truck Stop on U.S. Highway 30 in Grand Island. Fred’s brother Charles, brother-in-law Al Eaton and sister Charlotte Eaton also were part of the venture.
In 1965 Bosselman built the Bosselman Truck Plaza at the intersection of the new Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 281. Known at the time as the “Truck Stop of Tomorrow,” this location became a landmark on I-80 and has served the public for over 50 years.
One of the keys to the company’s success is that it has remained a family business. Bosselman’s sons, daughters and their spouses ran and grew the business, expanding into convenience stores, additional truck plaza locations, fuel and propane services, transportation services, restaurants, truck repair shops and lodging. The company was supervised by Fred Bosselman and his sons, Fred Bosselman Jr. and Chuck Bosselman.
Fred Bosselman died at age 89 in Grand Island on July 27, 2006. After his death, the company divided into two entities, retail and energy.
In 2012 Chuck Bosselman passed away, and his son and daughter, Charlie Bosselman and Brandi Bosselman, began to oversee Bosselman Enterprises.
Charlie Bosselman said the company had been looking to build a new corporate headquarters “for quite some time.”
“We looked at a number of different sites,” he said. It was Bosselman board member Ray O’Connor who brought up the former Skagway south site.
“He (O’Connor) suggested we take a look at this building,” Bosselman said. “Bill Martin (Skagway owner) was a friend of the family. We came over and looked at it. We looked at the square footage and thought there was something here we could work with. We worked out a deal with the company that owned the property, acquired the building, and started on the project.”
Work on the new corporate headquarters began last fall. The current headquarters is located at 3123 Stolley Park Road, the site of a former restaurant the Bosselman family purchased in the early 1980s.
“We were looking for a more open environment, which we had designed here, where we could have more interactions with people and have a more creative environment,” Bosselman said. “We were kind of constrained by the confines of that old building. This opportunity came along and we thought it would be perfect.”
Bosselman said three phases comprised the overall development of the new facility.
“We are doing phase one now, which is the office,” he said. “Phase two is out front in putting in a hotel. We are working on that right now.”
Phase three, he said, will be building some more office spaces when the need arises to the south.
As business has grown, Bosselman said he and his wife, Laura, and Brandi Bosselman-Lofing have been involved in building a new corporate headquarters.
“For years now, we are kind of the next generation and it seemed like a natural progression to create a new space and environment and sort of ‘move out of your parent’s basement,’” he said.
Bosselman said when his grandfather, Fred Bosselman, started the company in the late 1940s, “He was driving a truck and he saw the need for a place for drivers to fuel and get something to eat.”
In the late 1940s, U.S. Highway 30 (Lincoln Highway) was today’s equivalent of Interstate 80, a primary east-to-west highway across America. Nearly 20 years later, when I-80 was built across Nebraska, Fred Bosselman acquired land along the interstate and U.S. Highway 281, where he built the Bosselman Truck Plaza.
“He bought the property out by the interstate even before it came through,” Bosselman said.
Since then the company has diversified greatly.
“We are in the business of business,” Bosselman said. “We first started out in the truck stop business, and we still have our original truck stop, but that environment changed a little bit years ago and we had an opportunity to sell seven of our travel centers, which allowed us to focus in the truck repair business with our Boss Truck Stops. We have grown dramatically in that area in the last eight or nine years, where we have gone from a handful of shops to more than 40 shops.”
It was in the 1970s when Bosselman started in the convenience store business that allowed the company to grow. They also have expanded in the hotel and restaurant business.
“We have kind of moved around and do a lot of different things,” Bosselman said.
Along with the corporate headquarters, they also plan to build a new restaurant at the location. “The restaurant will be a new concept, which we will reveal soon, but it will be a higher-end, gourmet restaurant,” Bosselman said.
He said the eventual plan for the facility is to create a multi-use facility that can accommodate lodging, dining and conference space in one convenient location.
“It will be more than just an office, but a business complex and facility for the community,” Bosselman said. “We have a large parking lot here and we could have different outdoor events and stuff like that.”
And being located next to the Fonner Park campus, Bosselman Enterprises will provide a great synergy that will continue the growth of the South Locust business corridor.
When asked what his grandfather and father would think now, Charlie said:
“I think they both would think we are spending too much money. My grandfather was very conservative and he would be very cautious. My father was a real aggressive entrepreneur and he would have probably gotten to this point himself, too. He would have been all behind it.”
But all three generations have one thing in common: keeping it a family business. Bosselman’s daughter, Kinsey, will enter the family business this fall.
Bosselman Enterprises now owns and operates:
-- 44 Pump & Pantry convenience stores.
-- 43 Boss Shops.
-- The Bosselman Travel Center.
- A Hampton Inn.
-- Three Pump & Pantry Motels.
-- A Quality Inn & Suites.
-- A Comfort Inn & Suites.
-- Five Motel 6 franchises.
- Grandma Max’s and Max’s Highway Diner restaurants.
-- Sam Bass’ Saloon & Steakhouse.
-- Schmooter’s Bar & Casino.
-- Food courts, including Subway, Little Caesars and Caribou Coffee.
-- The Nebraska Danger indoor professional football team.