New Business: Bert’s Express in Fairview to open soon
The highly anticipated travel plaza — Bert’s Express located at 801 W First Street in Fairview — which will eventually feature an A&W restaurant, is expected to open soon.
Stan, Bud and Sam Keim were present during the Fairview City Council meeting on Thursday, Dec. 1, and provided an update to the council on the project’s status.
B. Keim said everything is on track to open the convenience store portion of the project the week of Dec. 12.
“We have to pass some inspections that week for the tank with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment [KDHE], and once those get approved, there probably won’t be much notice,” B. Keim said. “We will probably flip the lights on, turn the tanks on and start selling anything we can. So, it will be a very quick turnaround. Some good developments have happened in the last couple of weeks.”
However, while progress continues on the convenience store, the A&W restaurant will not open quite as quickly.
“Now, for the A&W, I don’t have as much good news, yet,” B. Keim said. “We’re still waiting to get some new information from A&W. We expect it to be the middle of January, but that could be subject to change. They are a little bit further behind with some supply chain issues. A lot of that stuff is out of our hands.”
The Fairview City Council approved a building permit for Bert’s Express in December 2021. Since then, the project has continued to move forward. However, even though the project was just approved one year ago, B. Keim said it has been a goal for the past 10 years to put in “some services and amenities.”
“I think it was during the construction of the wash bay or just after the construction was complete, the mayor at the time — Charlie Rogers — asked Stan [Keim] when he was going to be able to buy some gas and milk in Fairview. Ever since then, it’s been on our radar to get those services to Fairview for the community and the traveler,” B. Keim said.
Keim TS is no stranger to travel plazas, because they also have another travel plaza in Wellsville, and the Fairview travel plaza will be similar except for the restaurant, which will be A&W. In 2021, Bert’s Travel Plaza in Wellsville won the 2021 award for Independent Truck Stop of the Year, and when the award was announced, there was “mutual interest from some major brands” to put in a restaurant in Fairview.
“We decided on A&W because it fit our location so well,” B. Keim said. “We are excited for their product to be served here.”
As for what else the travel plaza will offer, B. Keim said they are trying to meet everyone’s needs.
“People all have a different opinion of what they are looking for when they want to stop or visit us,” B. Keim said. “Some want clean facilities, some want a certain brand of fuel, some want name brand recognition. Our goal is to have the best amenities that will reach the local communities and get the 8,500 vehicles that travel by our intersection to stop at the store.”
The travel plaza will offer three diesel fuel islands, numerous gasoline islands, food/drink items and clean restrooms.
Currently, hours for the travel plaza are not known, but B. Keim said they are “making plans” to be open 24 hours, but “it will depend on the night business.”