QuikTrip opens a new store about every other week. As intense as this pace sounds, it fails to capture just how aggressively the chain is growing its store base.
In fiscal year 2020, which ends in April, QuikTrip will have opened 30 new-to-industry stores, including expanding into two new markets— San Antonio and Austin, Texas—and eyeing another major market: Denver.
“We’re working real estate there right now, but nothing is under construction yet,” says Stephen Fater, who, with QuikTrip’s store development team, has helped stage the chain’s growth entirely through NTIs to more than 800 stores across 11 states.
Today QuikTrip is growing with its Gen3S store, a design slightly smaller than the previous more than 5,000-square-foot Generation 3 model. “Gen 3S is more efficient and optimized for how we do business today,” Fater says.
But what keeps one of the 15 largest chains in the industry from growing through acquisition? Fater says it’s a combination of a unique strategy and a little bit of superstition.
“We’ve done one acquisition in our history, in the 1970s, and it was a total failure,” he says, citing QT lore. “We look [at available properties], but time and time again, we’ve chosen not to pursue that. We believe organic growth is the key to our success.”