In addition to the Puma petrol outlet and associated Super 7 convenience store, the new service centre features McDonald’s, Subway and Red Rooster fast food franchises with a Coffee Club set to open soon. Together with a 149-space car park, 25 B-double truck bays and six bus or caravan parking spaces, the 5ha service centre also boasts a truck lounge, playground, dog park and indoor and outdoor seating areas. It is expected that 13,000 travellers will pass through on the Pacific Highway each day.
Following the opening of the Kempsey bypass in March 2013 opening of a 14.5km bypass, the local economy lost 94 jobs and an estimated $15 million, with a study commissioned by Kempsey Shire Council finding that 68 of 115 participating businesses had suffered a downturn in sales and turnover – mostly at service stations, eating places and food stores. In turn, half of these businesses were forced to reduce staff hours or shed jobs. At the official opening, Kempsey Shire Council Mayor Liz Campbell welcomed Puma’s investment in the region, saying that it was anticipated the new centre would create 185 jobs.
Puma Energy Australia General Manager Ray Taylor said, “The South Kempsey Travel Centre will join 20 travel centres in Puma Energy’s national retail portfolio, and provide safe, convenient access to fuel and rest facilities on a major travel route. By growing our network of first-class travel centres, we can help improve national road safety through the provision of quality rest facilities for truck drivers and travellers nation-wide.”