Radio host, financial guru praises ingenuity of chain, founder Cadieux

TULSA, Okla. -- QuikTrip Corp. is "an example of what's great about us" as Americans, radio and television personality, author and financial guru Clark Howard told an audience gathered for the opening of the 76th season of the Tulsa Town Hall lecture series Friday, according to a report by The Tulsa World.

During his presentation, he spoke with a QuikTrip plastic cup in his hand and praised the company's founder. Howard noted that QuikTrip began when Chester Cadieux noticed convenience stores were lacking some major features. His new business was designed to [image-nocss] give customers something they didn't often geta positive, friendly experience and a place where women could feel safe shopping at all hours.

In the 50-plus years since the first store opened, Howard said, QuikTrip has continued to innovate, including the introduction of next-generation stores in Tulsa, Okla., this summer.

As Americans, "we seize that opportunity and go after it," Howard said. "We continually innovate."

QuikTrip's new, bigger store design reduces congestion while expanding the foodservice offer. "We like to think the new design will free up a lot of that congestion, not only in the store but at the pumps and in the parking lot," company spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh said last October when the new concept was first announced. The new stores will be 5,400 to 5,500 square feet.

The private company owns and operates more than 550 gas stations, convenience stores, travel centers and truckstops in the U.S. Midwest, South and Southwest, has stores in nine statesArizona, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

(Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage. Andclick here for CSPTV coverage of 2007 CSP Retail Leader of the Year Chester Cadieux [starts at 4:55].)

During the presentation, Howard spoke on a variety of financial topics, but his overall message was one of hope, said the report. He said he agrees that the country is "off the tracks a little bit," but the future is far from hopeless. "I don't believe for one minute that we're done," he said. Instead, Howard said now is an ideal time to move forward with investing and entrepreneurial efforts.

"I promise you there are people right now who are starting things that will be huge in 15 years," Howard said, according to the report.

The economic slump could continue well into the next decade because it's going to take some time for everyone to dig out of debt, Howard said, but unemployed people who are talented and sharp should be formulating business plans and looking for chances.

"A time of adversity is a time of great opportunity," he said.

Howard (pictured)is the author of Clarkanomics. The Clark Howard Show originates from radio station WSB AM in Atlanta. And he appears on HLN/CNN Headline News.