UNICOI — There’s a new place to fuel up in the town of Unicoi.

The new Black Diamond Travel Center, located just off Interstate 26, officially opened its doors for business on Monday.

“I always loved this part of Tennessee and North Carolina and I’ve always wanted to be able to build a place on (Interstate) 26 to sell diesel fuel,” Riggs Oil Company President Arnold Riggs said. “And I seen Unicoi needed a nice, new, modern store and I couldn’t find a more perfect location than Unicoi.”

The Shell gas station and Black Diamond Market convenience center combo features 12 gasoline fuel pumps, four diesel pumps and an off-road diesel pump.

In addition to the gasoline, the travel center also offers a variety of made-to-order food options both in-store and through drive-thru.

“We have a drive-thru window that you can come and drive through and then we’ll get whatever you want and bring it to you,” Riggs said.

Eli Bare, the town’s communications director, said the convenience center would help bring business from I-26 travelers into the town.

“It’s definitely going to benefit the economy and help out the other businesses in the area,” Bare said. “It brings people in and has people that are traveling through be able to stop and go down to Dollar General, Walmart and local restaurants in the area as well.”

The land for the travel center was purchased by Riggs last August and construction on the location officially started in March. Riggs owns over 20 stores in Virginia and Tennessee.

Currently, the Black Diamond Travel Center is open from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m., but Riggs said he hopes to eventually extend those hours.

“Once we get established real good we hope to be 24 hours a day,” he said.

Currently, the only other location in the town to purchase gasoline is a Murphy USA gas station located adjacent to the town’s Walmart Supercenter store. Bare said the new travel center will be a big help to citizens and travelers alike in need of gas or a quick bite.

“It’s definitely going to be a blessing and a benefit to the citizens of the town of Unicoi and people coming through,” Bare said.


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