QuikTrip's Wichita Switch

After vowing to wait for better beer law, chain building anyway; expects change

WICHITA, Kansas -- QuikTrip Corp. is getting ready to break ground on its new store at in Wichita, Kansas, reported The Wichita Business Journal. The company recently closed on the purchase of nine parcels of ground at a Wichita intersection, where it plans to build one of its 5,700-square-foot "Generation 3" stores, its newest prototype.

In April, Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip told the newspaper that plans to build at least three of these stores in the Kansas City market by the end of 2012. The stores will be about 20% larger than the company's previous prototypes [image-nocss] and will offer outdoor seating and full beverage service to compete with Starbucks and other coffee shops (click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)

Demolition work on houses in that area is expected to begin during the next couple of weeks, QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh told the Business Journal. The store is slated for a January opening.

QuikTrip is building the store in anticipation of eventually being able to sell full-strength alcohol there. The state legislature this year contemplated opening the state's liquor laws to allow the sale of strong beer in grocery and convenience stores. Nothing passed, but Thornbrugh said that the issue will not go away.

"I really think it stands a good chance next year or the following year," he told the paper. "People get it."

The Generation 3 stores have plenty of room for new product, if it became available for QuikTrip to sell, Thornbrugh said. Previously, he said that the chain would not build stores in Wichita while the liquor laws were in flux (click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)

But that has changed, the report said.

Thornbrugh said that the company opted to go with a Generation 3 store in Witchita in anticipation that the state legislature eventually will amend the state's liquor laws.

Kansas is one of just a handful of states with two classifications of beers. Some of those states--Oklahoma is one--have seen legislation pushing for change, said the report.

"There's a movement across the country," Thornbrugh said.