Then and Now: Broadway Truck Service

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Broadway Truck Service was built on East Broadway Avenue next to the new highway east of Spokane in 1960. Roy T. Williams was the president of the company and his brother, Bill, managed what they called Truck Town . “We will provide everything for the truck and the driver,” Williams told The Spokesman-Review.

He believed that double-trailer platforms would become commonplace and these needed direct access to the highway. There were plans for a nearby motel and hair salon.

Williams had established the Spokane Kenworth dealership, known as Spokane Truck Sales and Service, in 1945 at 905 E. Third Ave. downtown. He also owned the Boise concession.

In 1963, Roy’s brother, Chuck Williams, who had run the gas station next to the truck dealership, partnered with Don Alsaker to purchase the Broadway truck stop.

Alsaker was born and raised in Potlatch, Idaho, served in the Navy in World War II, and then worked as a lumberjack in Bovill, Idaho. He moved to Spokane in 1960 and began working for Williams, first as a gas station attendant and later as a manager, at the downtown truck stop.

The partnership “started with a handshake,” according to the truck stop website.

Roy Williams retired in 1965 from the truck dealership, now run by his son Neal Williams, who moved the dealership just west of the truck stop in 1967. The dealership would become one of the largest in the country, with a 20% share. of the North West truck market. The concessions were sold to Kenworth Sales Co. of Utah in 2001.

Alsaker bought Chuck Williams in 1971. Don, his wife Bernice, their son Dan and daughter Pam Hemingway, along with other family members, worked long hours, usually 12-hour shifts, to keep up the slack. 24 hours a day.

In 1988 Dan Alsaker told the newspaper: “If there is a key to the front door, I don’t know where it is. We never close. Dan took over the business after his father suffered a heart attack in 1982.

The family added more truck stops, expanded the restaurant offering and oversaw many changes. Outside of the Spokane area, the Alsakers’ Broadway group today operates truck stops, now called travel plazas, in Pasco and Ellensburg, Washington; Hardin and Belgrade, Montana; and Battle Mountain, Nevada.

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