Casey’s Outlines Grand Plans for Ohio

By 
Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

Casey's General Store Distribution Center,

ANKENY, Iowa -- With the help of a second distribution center in Indiana, Casey’s General Stores Inc. is moving on its promised expansion into the state of Ohio.

The convenience retailer, which has no stores open yet in the Buckeye State, is proposing a store in New Lebanon in the Dayton, Ohio, area, reported the  Dayton Business Journal. Casey’s has been targeting small towns in the Dayton region and has sites under contract in Tipp City and in Jackson Center, and it also has locations planned in New Lebanon and Fort Loramie, said the report.

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Distribution Strategy

Bob Myers and Mike Pence

The company, which has a distribution center in Des Moines, Iowa, opened a second facility in February 2016 in Terre Haute, Ind.

Casey’s executives have talked a great deal about the company’s distribution strategy and expansion plans on earnings calls since announcing plans for the new facility.

  • Vice President Mike Pence, then governor of Indiana, helps Casey’s announce plans for its Terre Haute, Ind., distribution center.

The Terre Haute facility “is key to the chain’s growth strategy,” CFO Bill Walljasper said on the company’s fiscal second-quarter 2017 earnings call in December.

“With our new distribution center in Terre Haute, we can efficiently build or acquire in a considerably larger geographical footprint,” president and CEO Terry Handley said in June on Casey’s fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 earnings call.

Stem time—the amount of time between when a truck leaves a distribution center and when it makes its initial delivery—will decline “dramatically,” Walljasper said on the company’s fiscal third-quarter 2014 earnings call in March 2014. Three-day truck routes will disappear. “And it's not just the miles driven, it's also the expenses of the drivers,” he said. “We pay for the expense of meals and overnights and hotels.”

Why Ohio?

Casey's General Store

“Our growth plans are centered around moving east and south to leverage that distribution center," Walljasper said in June. "We’ll have stores open in Ohio this fiscal year and continue to fill in and move in that direction. We noticed that it was a very similar demographic to some of our more seasoned states like Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. … So we think we have a tremendous opportunity there.”

Casey's also is looking into expanding into Michigan, he said, and the company “will continue to penetrate Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma.”

The distribution centers have approximately a 500-mile reach.

The chain’s expansion could help rural parts of the Miami Valley in Ohio that have trouble attracting restaurants, grocery stores and commercial investment, since it specializes in smaller communities, the Business Journal said.

"We're one of the few companies looking to acquire convenience stores in small towns," Sam James, Casey's General Stores director of finance, told the newspaper. He said the company overall had 84 sites under contract as of December.

Casey’s, based in Ankeny, Iowa, operates more than 1,940 convenience stores in 14 states, primarily in the Midwest.