Why This Truck Stop Loo Is the Best in Canada
By Teona Baetu
VALLEYVIEW, AB—What can truckers expect from the restroom at the Valleyview Shell Super Station – a massive truck stop in a tiny town about 350 kilometres northwest of Edmonton?
Solid alder wood stall doors. Tiled walls with stone accents, granite countertops with automatic stainless steel fixtures and of course, no bathroom would be complete without sparkling Victorian-style semi-flush mount chandeliers.
“It definitely has that wow factor,” says Store Supervisor Silvia Barks. “At many stations it’s not five stars everywhere, but people come here just to check out the washrooms.”
“Customers appreciate that they can count on us for a clean place to stop and use the washroom,” says Store Manager Blake Sparks.
The truck stop beat many of Canada’s prestigious restaurants for the prize and title of having Canada’s best restroom in 2013.
“People comment to our staff all the time about our elegant décor in the washroom and the importance we place on the maintenance of our facility,” Sparks says.
The contest is sponsored by Cintas, which provides businesses with specialized services such as uniforms, first aid kits and – you guessed it, restroom supplies.
“Valleyview Shell Super Station embodies the critical message that restroom hygiene matters for good health and good business,” says Cintas’ Senior Marketing Manager Leslie Molin. “We are proud to see that the Valleyview team goes the extra mile to keep its facility well maintained.”
It’s not the first prize the truck stop got for its bathrooms either. In 2010, they were named the Best Green Store by Convenience Store Magazine for their geo-thermal heating and cooling technologies.
The 8,350 square foot convenience store serves 2,000-2,500 customers per day with travelers stopping in for fuel, food and the flawless facility. Employees check the washroom every 20-30 minutes depending on the amount of traffic in the store.
Most of the traffic is truck traffic, Barks says, because they’re on the major highway up north (Highway 43 in Alberta), but word of mouth travels fast and people sure do talk about the bathroom.
“It’s weird, but people say ‘You have to see the Shell bathroom” and it spreads by word of mouth and people come because other people recommend it. They come here just to check it out, not for gas but just to check out the washrooms,” Barks says.
Finalists were selected based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements. Thousands of votes were cast online.