Bananas Tops for Kwik Trip

Fruit a big part of retailer's success

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Kwik Trip began selling bananas 15 or 20 years ago, and the fruit quickly became a part of the company's success, according to a report by WXOM-TV. The banana operation inside Kwik Trip's distribution center is one of the keys to Kwik Trip's success, said the report.

"It's been a good thing for Kwik Trip," produce buyer Dale Gruntzel told the news outlet. "A single banana has about 100 calories. It's a healthy alternative. It's just a good thing."

Each day, Kwik Trip ships 80,000 pounds of bananas to its convenience stores, which is equivalent to [image-nocss] the weight of three empty semi trucks.

"From the time [a banana is] harvested off the tree to the time it's this color, it's in our stores, is typically about a 10-day process," Dale said.

That process starts in Guatemala and Colombia in South America. The bananas are shipped to Texas before trucks haul them to La Crosse. They spend days in the ripening chambers, giant rooms with tropical conditions.

"It is a very touchy thing. It takes a lot of special care, a lot of little handling, little details just to make sure you get the fruit to the stores the right color," Dale said. That color is a nice golden yellow, or green if the customer is planning ahead.

"It's not just your take-home item. A lot of people are buying them and eating them on the go," he added.

On average, it's an eight-cent per banana investment, the report said.

Kwik Trip sells around 35 million pounds of bananas each year, according to the report.