QuikTrip Picks Up Generation 3 Pace

Building four more new-design locations in K.C. market, one in Des Moines area

KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- After recently opening its 600th location, QuikTrip Corp. plans to open four more of its "Generation 3" convenience stores in the Kansas City market by year's end, according to a report by the Kansas City Business Journal.

That pace is much faster than the convenience store operator predicted when it announced plans for local prototypes in April 2011 (see Related Content below for previous coverage). At the time, QuikTrip predicted at least three of its next-generation stores in the Kansas City market by the end of 2012.

A Shawnee, Kansas, store is set to open in mid-July, a Merriam, Kansas, store will open in September or October, another Independence, Mo., store will open in October, and an Overland Park, Kansas, store will open in September or October, QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh told the newspaper. Also, a relocated store in Kansas City opened earlier this month. An initial Independence store--a relocation--opened roughly a year ago.

Some of QuikTrip's Missouri stores are a stone's throw from Kansas, said the report.

"As long as they keep their adult beverage laws, we'll just build in Missouri," Thornbrugh said, adding that QuikTrip thinks it's a matter of time before Kansas changes its liquor laws.

The Generation 3 stores aim at a more upscale experience that can compete with coffee shops such as Starbucks. They are a larger, at 5,700 square feet compared to the typical 4,600 square feet, and offer hot and cold specialty drinks, smoothies and soft-serve ice cream, among other amenities.

"We're really, really concentrating on the fresh-food business," Thornbrugh said. "As we continue to get better at that and grow at that, this new model is going to help us tremendously. It's also designed to accommodate adult beverages."

The concept has been well received in multiple settings, which is why the chain is moving ahead with them, he said. The rollout is a mix of new stores, relocations and upgrades.

"They're a substantial investment," Thornbrugh said, though he would not provide specific amounts to the paper.

Each store employs between 15 and 17 people, the report said.

In Iowa, QuikTrip is completing construction of two stores--one traditional c-store in Grimes and one Generation 3 store in West Des Moines, reported the Des Moines Register.

The Grimes store, due to open within the next two weeks, is newly built on a site formerly occupied by a Phillips 66 station, said the report, and the West Des Moines Generation 3 store is expected to open in May.

"The inside and outside of the Generation 3 store will be a completely different configuration," Thornbrugh told the paper.

The new design also has more entrances, including two in the front and two side entries, to allow for better traffic in and out of the store. Vendors will have access through a back entrance.

A larger food area in the Generation 3 store will include a touchscreen for customers to place orders for hot and cold drinks, smoothies and soft serve ice cream and a barista will fill the requests.

QuikTrip prepares and prepackages foods such as hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and pastries for self-service, but more space allotted for the food area will allow the company to eventually expand its fresh food offerings, Thornbrugh said.

Tulsa-based QuikTrip has 600 stores in 10 states and will add an 11th state with the opening of a store in North Carolina next month, the report said. The company also has 47 more stores under development.

The two new stores will bring the total of its Iowa stores to 24, and they are all in the Des Moines area. West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum and Go LC has 172 stores in Iowa, including 49 in Des Moines and the surrounding area; Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey's General Stores Inc. has 476 stores in Iowa, with about 50 in the metro area.

QuikTrip is looking at opening more stores in central Iowa. "We are going to continue to grow, and Des Moines is one of those markets we hope to continue to grow in," Thornbrugh told the Register. But he would not specify how many.