Company News

Kwik Trip Expects Success Will Spur Second Distribution Center, Executive Says

Location would be hundreds of miles from La Crosse, Wisconsin, headquarters: report
Kwik Trip exterior
Photograph courtesy of Kwik Trip

Kwik Trip, with a day to spare in 2021, opened its 800th convenience store, in Holman, Wisconsin, on Dec. 30. The La Crosse, Wisconsin-based convenience-store chain now stands at 847 stores as of Jan. 1, 2023.

This growth will someday compel Kwik Trip, which plans to add 42 stores in 2023, to build another distribution center, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported this week.

Kwik Trip produces more than 80% of the products sold in its stores, supplied by its own bakery, commissary, dairy and distribution center.

Kwik Trip currently relies on its distribution center in La Crosse to supply all its stores, which get deliveries daily, said Steve Loehr, vice president of operations support at Kwik Trip, at a Waukesha County Business Alliance event this month, the newspaper reported. As c-stores more distant from La Crosse open, distribution becomes more difficult, Loehr said.

“We’ve often said 350 miles or 400 miles is probably it,” he said, according to the Business Journal. “We’re past that. We’re dealing with that.”

To streamline distribution, Kwik Trip created a logistics system for its truck drivers making the round trip from La Crosse to individual stores, the Business Journal reported. Eventually, however, Kwik Trip will need to build a second distribution center several hundred miles from La Crosse—though that is a few years away.

Family-owned Kwik Trip was named the nation’s best gas station brand for the third straight year in a USA Today readers’ choice survey in 2022. It employs more than 32,000 and serves customers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin under the under the banners Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Kwik Spirits, Stop-N-Go, Tobacco Outlet Plus and Tobacco Outlet Plus Grocery.

Later this year it will enter South Dakota, opening four Kwik Star locations in the Sioux Falls area.

Kwik Trip CEO and President Donald Zietlow retired from the chain at the end of 2022. He led the convenience-store chain for 22 years and worked there for 52 years. He was replaced by second-generation owner Scott Zietlow, Donald’s son.

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