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UNDER CONSTRUCTION -- Work continues on the Tularosa Travel Center... (J.R. Oppenheim/Daily News)

Travelers on U.S. Highway 70/54 soon will have new opportunities for a pleasant break from their driving.

The first week of November is the scheduled opening date for the new Tularosa Travel Center at the southern edge of Tularosa.

The travel center will offer six fueling pumps for over-the-road trucks, and 12 pumps for passenger traffic. It will feature a retail store, gift shop and restaurant 9 The La Rosa.

The project, which encompasses 10,000 square feet and cost approximately $3 million to build, is the brain child of local pecan grower Jay Glover.

Glover initially set out on a mission to eliminate the middle man from his pecan business.

"We decided to get in the pecan retail business and this whole project stemmed from that approach," Glover said. "That's how we ended up with the facility we have now."

Glover, and his father Johnny Glover, have been growing pecans in Tularosa since 1969. Until recently, they just grew the pecans and sold them to shellers. The shellers harvest the meat from the pecans, and then sell them to the end-user 9 candy makers, restaurants and retail packagers.

Glover wanted to eliminate that middle man and sell pecans directly. With that in mind, he bought a retail

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pecan store and mail order business in Roswell, with the idea of eventually moving that operation to Tularosa. The Tularosa Travel Center is the culmination of big dreams made even bigger.

Once Glover started thinking about moving his mail order business to Tularosa, he began seeing the possibilities of corridor on Highway 70/54.

"We saw an opportunity to draw on all that tourism business that's going through," Glover said, adding that his ideas stem from what pistachio growers have done with visitors centers and retail outlets.

Glover's operation will seek to draw customers traveling between Texas and Ruidoso, as well as local customers.

The La Rosa Restaurant will be open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day.

"We are going to serve three meals a day. But in the evening, it will become an upper scale steak house serving steak, seafood dishes and so forth," Glover said, adding that he has hired a professional chef 9 formerly of the upscale Incredible Restaurant in Ruidoso 9 to operate the restaurant.

"We wanted to make it an upscale travel center. That's what we want, is to be part of what we view as that Highway 70/54 tourist corridor."

According to Tularosa Mayor Ray Cordova, the travel center is the most recent and most visible sign of rapid growth in Tularosa.

"Anytime you go into business, it's a gamble, and he decided to take a pretty big one. But I think that thing is really going to produce and I'm all for it," Cordova said.