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QuikTrip Expanding to Denver

As chain reaches 800-store milestone, another new market is next target
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Photograph courtesy of QuikTrip

TULSA, Okla. — As it reaches the milestone of its 800th convenience store, QuikTrip Corp. is making plans to expand into yet another market. In an internal video that the company also posted to Instagram, the regional convenience-store chain announced its intention to “see you soon, Denver!”

Mike Thornbrugh, spokesperson for Tulsa, Okla.-based Quik Trip, confirmed the expansion to CSP Daily News.

“The Denver metro area is really hot in terms of population growth,” he said. “Those are the kind of markets that QuikTrip thinks we have a really good opportunity to be successful. With that type of population base, we think it could support a lot of our stores over a period of time.”

QuikTrip has been looking at Colorado, and specifically the Denver market, “for a long time,” said Thornbrugh. “We already have people in the market for the real estate. But the last piece of the puzzle for QuikTrip was when they got rid of the 3.2 beer,” he said, referring to the previous legal limit of percentage of alcohol by volume allowed in beer sold in Colorado c-stores.

“In Oklahoma, when we got rid of it, even though we had a dominant share, business was even better," he said. "Now that Kansas has shucked it, our business is going to grow in Kansas too.” Colorado ended the prohibition of higher-alcohol beers Jan. 1. “That’s going to provide a lot of sales growth for that state. That’s one of the reasons we’re going.”

QuikTrip also recently expanded into the San Antonio and Austin, Texas, markets. This month in San Antonio, it opened the company's 800th c-store.

Denver “is a really big chunk to chew on," he said. "You’ve got really big markets in San Antonio and Austin, and then to turn right around on top of that and to announce that we’re going to go to a market like Denver—we set the bar pretty high for ourselves.”

Thornbrugh would not hint at any additional markets for expansion. “Our style and strategy has always been once we get up and running, it takes a good five to seven years to reach critical mass—there’s no magic number on that, we know it when it’s there, and it holds true, so we’re a ways out on Denver," he said. "But there’s no question that QuikTrip is in an expanded growth spurt that’s unheard of for our company.”

QuikTrip grows organically through new construction vs. acquisition. “That doesn’t appear to be part of our model whatsoever,” said Thornbrugh. “I’ve never even heard anybody talk about it. We like to go in and start from the ground up ourselves.”

In 1958, Burt Holmes and Chester Cadieux invested their life savings to open the first QuikTrip store, which was a small grocery store in their hometown of Tulsa. Six decades later, the company operates c-stores in 11 states, 14 markets and now 800 locations. It has more than $11 billion in revenue and 20,000 employees nationwide.

QuikTrip reached the 800-store milestone about five years after the company celebrated the opening of its 700th store in 2014 in Overland, Mo. It opened its 600th store in 2012 in Claremore, Okla.; its 500th store in 2008 in Broken Arrow, Okla.; its 400th store in 2002 in Tempe, Ariz.; its 300th store in 1992 in Sand Springs, Okla.; its 200th store in 1978 in Raytown, Mo.; and its 100th store in 1971.

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