Kum & Go Unveils Marketplace Store (Slideshow)

First location of its kind in Missouri is 'love letter' to tornado-ravaged Joplin

By 
Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

Kum & Go, Joplin, Mo.

JOPLIN, Mo. -- Kum & Go LC on March 18 opened the doors to its newly built convenience store in Joplin, Mo. The store is a more than 6,000-square-foot Marketplace design prototype that is a new concept for the company.

The West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain has a very tangible connection to the southwestern Missouri community.

An EF5 tornado struck Joplin in May 2011. Regionwide, it killed 158 people, injured more than 1,000 and caused approximately $2.8 billion in damages.

  • Click here for video of customers who rode out the tornado in the freezer of a Fastrip convenience store.

Kum & Go LC lost two stores to the tornado. The company had 15 stores in Joplin and the surrounding area. Of those stores, 13 were back to business as usual a few days after the storm. Two remained closed due to significant damage from the tornado. Thankfully, no employees were killed or injured.

“It’s a different representation of the convenience-store concept. It’s much more open,” Matt Spangler, district supervisor for Kum & Go, told The Joplin Globe concerning the new Marketplace c-store. “We rebuilt our store at 15th Street and Range Line after the tornado, and we have built this new store because we are committed to this market and this community."

“It’s like a love letter to Joplin,” Kristie Bell, communications director for Kum & Go, told the newspaper.

Developing this distinctive model took nearly two years, and the result is an entirely new concept.

“We spent nearly two years working with consultants and internal teams to design the new Marketplace store prototype,” Bell told CSP Daily News. “Through this process, we essentially started over and imagined a store that would be an embodiment of our brand promise--'Where & means more'.”

The centerpiece of the store is an expanded and open food preparation area that customers can see from the moment they enter.

Features include:

  • Elevated food experience with Kum & Go’s “Go Fresh Market.”
  • Open kitchen layout, clear aisles and easy-to-navigate zones.
  • Seating inside with heated patio seating outside.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and charging stations for customers.
  • Expansive beer cave.

The store is designed for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified status, using energy efficient and sustainable design practices.

Additionally, visible on South Range Line Road is a custom-designed tribute to Joplin created specifically for this location. An 8-foot tall and 7-foot wide ampersand—paying homage to Kum & Go’s slogan “Where & means more”—sits on the north side of the store. Designed and produced by the award-winning art studio Sticks, it honors the community of Joplin with key words and images that reflect the area’s attractions and slogans on one side. The opposite side showcases the Kum & Go core values and culture.

“This new footprint represents everything that Kum & Go strives to be for our associates and for our customers,” said Kum & Go president and CEO Kyle Krause. “This is the evolution of our brand promise and business approach. Now customers can truly experience the 'more' that we provide.”

To celebrate the opening, Kum & Go made a $1,000 contribution to Art Feeds Joplin, an organization that provides art programming and therapy for more than 5,000 young artists every week in 16 schools and three children’s organizations.

Kum & Go operates eight stores in the Joplin community and more than 70 in the state of Missouri.

Kum & Go's first convenience store using the Marketplace design opened in Johnston, Iowa, in mid-February. The company is planning additional Marketplace stores using this new layout for 2016 in Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Missouri and Arkansas. The next Missouri location will be located in Republic, projected to open in a few weeks.

For more than 55 years, Kum & Go has been dedicated to the communities it serves, sharing 10% of its annual profits with charitable causes. The fifth-largest, privately held and company-operated convenience-store chain in the United States, Kum & Go employs more than 4,700 associates across 430 stores and 11 states (Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming).