Spanning busy Interstate 5, Lakewood is the perfect South Sound locale for truck stops.

And, as it turns out, for truck repairs. And truck parts. And truck services.

Kenworth Northwest, which already holds a presence in other sectors of Washington state, is no dummy. The company saw the easy Lakewood niche. And it then seized the opportunity.

The rare chance, that is, for a clear shot to open a new, 26,400-square-foot dealership site that caters solely to the trucker community.

“We're responding to the needs of our customers and other truck operators for a new location in the South Puget Sound area,” said Marshall Cymbaluk, dealer principal and president of Kenworth Northwest.

“The Lakewood location allows us to provide better service to our local customers and to truck operators running north and south on the I-5 corridor. It's also close to State Route 512.”

The facility was booked into reality on July 22, featuring 13 service bays, a truck wash bay, a 5,400-square-foot parts warehouse and a driver's lounge. It's early yet, of course, but so far, business has been good, according to site manager Ken Mason.

“It's been great,” Mason said. “People have been very receptive and appreciative of us being down here.

“We went to two shifts in the shop after two weeks, if that tells you anything,” he added.

What has especially surprised him, however, is just how the proximity to the bustling I-5 traffic has plays into the clientele base.

“We're getting more of the transient business, those from out of town, due to our proximity to I-5,” said Mason. “We also get a lot of walk-ins.”

The dealership is Kenworth Northwest's first in the South Sound. The company also operates five other dealerships in  Washington – in Aberdeen, Bellingham, Marysville, SeaTac and Yakima – as well as two in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska. The Kenworth dealer network as a whole spans some 340 locations throughout the United States and Canada.