Travel Center Operators Among America's Richest People
NEW YORK -- The combined wealth of Forbes' 2013 ranking of the richest people in the United States is $2 trillion, with two travel center operators lending some wallet power to that figure. Earning spots on The Forbes 400 list this year are Tom and Judy Love of Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Jimmy Haslam of Pilot Flying J.
Tom and Judy Love occupy the No. 132 spot with a net worth of $3.6 billion. The couple started what would become Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores in 1964 when they leased an abandoned filling station in Watonga, Okla. This July, Love’s opened its 300th location in Lenoir City, Tenn.
The company, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has locations in 39 states and rakes in more than $24 billion in annual sales. Love's is still family-owned and operated. Tom Love is chairman and CEO, and three of his four children work for the company, according to the report.
Tom and Judy Love held the No. 113 spot on last year's list of America's richest people. In addition, the couple occupies the No. 384 spot on the Forbes World's Billionaires list -- No. 126 in the United States.
Haslam, the CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J, holds the No. 369 spot on this year's Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $1.45 billion. Pilot Flying J is one of the nation's largest private companies, with $31 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1958 by his father, today's company grew from a merger of Pilot and Flying J in 2010. The company has 600 locations in 43 states and Canada.
Haslam, who held the No. 360 spot on the list in 2012, also owns the National Football League's Cleveland Browns. In addition, he occupies the No. 831 spot on Forbes World's Billionaires list -- No. 279 in the United States.
Haslam and his company continue to fight allegations of fraud in its fuel rebate program following an April 15 raid by federal officials. Several Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty in connection with the investigation and a federal grand jury is reportedly conducting its own review of the allegations. In addition, the company is facing multiple class-action lawsuits, as CSNews Online previously reported.