Weigel's Building for the Future

Headquarters expansion presages ramp-up in jobs, stores

POWELL, Tenn. -- Weigels Inc. has embarked on an ambitious expansion of its longtime corporate headquarters in Powell, Tenn., said the Knoxville News Sentinel. A new, 10,000-sq.-ft. addition will nearly triple the size of the company's existing 5,500-sq.-ft. home.

The convenience store retailer has budgeted $1.9 million for the expansion, which should be completed this summer. The 50-store chain also has continuing plans to open an average of two stores a year.

Basically we've outgrown our existing building, president and CEO [image-nocss] Ken McMullen told the newspaper. We have some people in temporary offices, and we want to bring everybody back to the corporate office. It will make all of our operations more efficient.

Weigel's also needs office space to accommodate the seven or eight new headquarters jobs the growing company plans to add this year, McMullen said. It is planning additional marketing, operations and human-relations positions.

The Knoxville architectural firm Michael Brady Inc. is giving the Weigel's headquarters a complete makeover, said the report. The design is intended to retain the existing building's residential feel. Blending in with the nearby residential neighborhoods is important to the family-owned business since much of the original family farm, Broadacres, is now covered by subdivision housing.

Chairman and CEO William B. Weigel is the fifth generation of the family to run the company. The Weigel family roots run deep in the Powell community, the report said. The family started truck farming the area in the late 1920s. In 1931, a dairy business was launched selling raw milk for 9 cents a gallon, according to the paper, citing a history of the family business written by William Sandwick. A few years later the family invested in a used pasteurizer and became one of the first dairies in Knox County to distribute pasteurized milk.

The company, which has nearly 400 employees, no longer runs a dairy farm, but it operates a modern automated milk plant near the corporate offices.

Weigel's was one of the early operators of c-stores in Knox County, the News Sentinel said, opening a 500-sq.-ft. drive-through location in 1958. Weigel's now has 50 c-stores in Knox and surrounding counties. The company is always scouting for potential retail locations and averages opening two new stores a year, McMullen told the paper.

It recently opened a new store in North Knoxville, said the report. A store in East Knoxville is under construction. The company also owns a prime retail location in the rapidly growing Hardin Valley area in West Knoxville, added the paper.