QuikTrip Taking on Tucson

New market expansion will include QT Kitchens

TUCSON, Ariz. -- In its first expansion into a new market for Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip in more than seven years, the convenience retailer is coming to Tucson, Ariz., reported Inside Tucson Business.

"We've been eyeing Tucson for a long time," Mike Thornbrugh, QuikTrip's manager of public and government affairs, told the newspaper. "We are coming."

The company's first location at what is currently a vacant lot the company acquired in February for $1.6 million. Thornbrugh could not say when the store will open. "It won't be for a while, it will take some time for us to do what we [image-nocss] want to do," he said. "We want to become a fixture in Tucson. We believe we are a perfect fit for Tucson and we believe it will be a success."

In the past QuikTrip, has come into new markets opening stores in quick succession, said the report. Phoenix was its most recent new market, opening in 2000 and by July 2006 it had opened its 50th store there.

By summer, the chain will open its 500th store, and in September, the company will celebrate 50 years in business, the report said. It has 10,500 employees in 494 stores in nine states. Its major markets are Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, St. Louis, Tulsa, Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; and Phoenix.

"Phoenix has been doing very well for us, and Tucson is just too appealing," said Thornbrugh.

Tucson will be the first market where the company will build its QT Kitchens from the ground up as part of the store's original construction, according to the report.

QT Kitchens offer gourmet-style sandwiches, grilled items, wraps, pastries, cookies and muffins. Previously, the company had these type of items brought in to each store, but has found success in making the items fresh at each location and has retrofitted older locations to accommodate the kitchens.

Click hereandhere for previous CSP Daily News coverage of QT Kitchens.