Kwik Trip Expanding Stores

Despite economy, retailer adding bigger kitchens to many locations

ALBERT LEA, Minn. -- While construction and expansion at many businesses are at a halt because of the lagging economy, additions to both of Albert Lea's Kwik Trip stores are moving along quickly as part of a companywide initiative to boost its convenience offerings, reported The Albert Lea Tribune.

Hans Zietlow, director of real estate for Kwik Trip, told the newspaper that the company is making the additions at many of its stores to make them larger and incorporate more of a kitchen area to the buildings. The retailer is a privately held company operating 395 c-stores [image-nocss] in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa operating under the banners of Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Hearty Platter and Tobacco Outlet Plus stores.

"We have a greater and greater food offering in our stores now," he added. "We want to expand that out to be able to offer more products and create a little better customer service."

One of the stores will have a 645-square-foot kitchen addition valued at $190,000, according to the report, citing the Albert Lea Inspection Department. The kitchen will be 45 by 15 feet on the north side of the store.

The addition to the other location is in progress. The store will get a 734-sq.-ft. addition valued at $160,000, according to the Inspection Department. This kitchen addition will be 68 feet by 10 feet on the west side of the building.

Kwik Trip said it maintains "total quality control over a wide variety of products by producing and packaging these items in our own state-of-the-art facilities." It has a corporate support center, along with its own bakery, commissary, dairy, distribution warehouse and vehicle maintenance division.

Also, a Kwik Trip store in Omro, Wis., is also remodeling, reported The Oshkosh Northwestern. It has been enlarged to provide more room for customers and staff. An addition was built to the west end of the building to create a new kitchen and that freed up space for a more roomy retail display and self-service food area within the store, manager Luis Arguello told the paper.

Meanwhile, a major revitalization project is under way in downtown La Crosse, Kwik Trip's home town. Zietlow recently told the Washburn Neighborhood Association about plans for a new c-store there, reported WKBT-TV. Plans call for tearing down the current Kwik Trip and the strip mall connected to the store. Kwik Trip will be putting in new gasoline dispensers and a car wash.

It will also use the latest technology, and Zietlow said he hopes the building will be certified for its efforts to go green.

Demolition is expected to start in early August, with the project wrapping-up by mid-December, said the report.

A Kraft/CSP Daily News yesterday asked, "Has the bad economy caused your company to cancel any planned station or store construction?" More than 47% of the approximately 110 respondents said yes, and nearly 14% said they are considering it; about 39% said no.