In Our Sweet Spot'

MotoMart buys two Ill. QuikTrip stations; QT buys Kansas site, awaits beer law change

O'FALLON, Ill. -- QuikTrip stores in O'Fallon and Cahokia, Ill., soon will be converted to MotoMart gas stations and convenience stores owned by Belleville, Ill.-based FKG Oil Co., according to a report by The Belleville News-Democrat.

The recent increase in Illinois' corporate income tax and higher gasoline taxes were not the leading reasons for selling the two stores, but they did nothelp, either, QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh told the newspaper.

"Those two were [on the market] prior to that," Thornbrugh said. "Just across the river, the tax [image-nocss] situation is much better and more favorable, and that is always a consideration. But honestly, we are shifting to bigger and larger stores with more merchandise. Unfortunately, those two stores no longer suited our long-term needs."

FKG Oil president Rob Forsythe said the two locations have been profitable and are located right in the heart of FKG Oil's market.

"Like any other company, we're always looking for profitable growth, and so these two locations represent facilities where we could easily make money," he told the paper. "They are successful locations with high sales volume and right in our sweet spot."

Forsythe said the ownership transfer is expected to be concluded by mid-month. He said MotoMart wants to hire as many of the former QuikTrip employees as possible; however, Thornbrugh said QuikTrip also plans to offer its former O'Fallon and Cahokia employees jobs elsewhere in the company.

Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip also has stations in Belleville, Granite City, Madison, Edwardsville and Bethalto, Ill. QuikTrip has 570 locations across the country with another 24 currently under construction, said the report.

FKG Oil was established in Belleville in 1955 and has 75 locations in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In a separate deal, QuikTrip has purchased a former Dillons location in Wichita, Kansas, across the street from a current QuikTrip store, the convenience store chain confirmed for The Wichita Eagle late last week. But it is unclear when or if the company will build on the site. That decision will depend on legislative action on liquor sales, Thornbrugh told the newspaper.

There are "no plans at this time," Thornbrugh said, indicating that the company is "waiting for Kansas to pass single-strength beer and spirits. Their actions will determine what we do, if anything."

The Kansas Senate is considering a bill this session that would allow convenience stores and grocery stores to sell full-strength alcoholic beverages, said the report.

Currently, the building serves as storage for QuikTrip.

The retailer has been systematically "tweaking" some of its older 3,200-square-foot Wichita stores, expanding and replacing some with 4,600-square-foot new ones to accommodate the chain's growing inventory of fresh breakfast and lunch foods, the report added.

They are also being developed with an eye toward more gasoline pumps and larger spaces for traffic to flow through.

QuikTrip is evaluating its older Wichita locations, turning to the "scrape and builds," building a new store while the old one remains open, then knocking down the old building for parking and gasoline pump space, Thornbrugh said late last year.

The company will build on a new site when inadequate space for a scrape and build exists on the current site, he said.