Kum & Go Loses Two Joplin Stores

Retailer kicking off charitable efforts to help employees, community recover from tornado

JOPLIN, Mo. -- Kum & Go LC lost two stores to the tornado in Joplin, Mo., earlier this week, the company said on Twitter and Facebook. "We're thankful to report that all associates are safe and accounted for," it added. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain had 15 stores in Joplin and the surrounding area. Of those stores, 13 are back to business as usual. Two remain closed due to significant damage from the tornado.

"Shortly after learning about the disaster on Sunday evening, Kum & Go's Response Team immediately traveled to Joplin," Kum & Go spokesperson Catherine [image-nocss] Huggins told CSP Daily News. "Within the hour, we began checking on our associates and visiting store sites."

She added that the Response Team worked around the clock to secure detailed information during this disaster.

Also, upon learning about the boil order, Kum & Go shipped Hiland Iced Tea to Joplin by working with the American Red Cross to ensure it was provided to residents in need.

"Throughout this week, Kum & Go associates truly exhibited two of Kum & Go's seven core values, 'caring' and 'family.' I am extremely proud of how quickly our Response Team was on site following the tornado's aftermath," Kyle J. Krause, Kum & Go president and CEO told CSP Daily News. During my visit to Joplin, I saw first-hand the dedication of our store associates who are diligently working to ensure our customers have everything that they need during this difficult time. It is clear to me that the community of Joplin will emerge even stronger due to the resilience of its residents."

This week, Kum & Go kicked off two major charitable efforts to help the community of Joplin. First, Kum & Go associates have the opportunity to contribute directly to their colleagues in Joplin through payroll deduction.

"While we were fortunate that our [more than 60] Joplin associates were not seriously injured or killed, some associates lost their homes or experienced significant property damage," said Huggins. "Therefore, Kum & Go associates wanted to personally reach out to help them during this difficult time."

Second, more than 400 Kum & Go stores in 11 states will be offering customers and other interested people to "Help Joplin" by contributing $1 when they stop in the stores. This effort kicks off May 27 at all Kum & Go stores. It concludes at midnight on June 5. Proceeds raised during this time will be provided to the American Red Cross and specifically designated for the current crisis in Joplin. The Kum & Go Foundation also will be making a contribution as part of this effort.

(Click here for previousCSP Daily News coverage of the Joplin tornado's effect on local c-stores and employees.)

Meanwhile, Cliotheleo offered before-and-after pictures of one of the Kum & Go locations. She tweeted: "Kum & Go gas station in #Joplin, before - after - #tornado."Separately, Lynn Wallis, president and CEO of Wallis Cos., based in Cuba, Mo., said that the company's lube facility and a cardlock in Joplin were not directly affected by the tornado. "None of our employees or their families were injured or lost," she told CSP. "Our physical properties were not touched, and we have been delivering diesel fuel for emergency equipment and helping out however we can with trucks, equipment, etc. nonstop. It's hard to imagine the destruction of lives and property."

Adam Wallis, director of wholesale fuel, helped the two employees who although they were not injured, one lost his home and the other's residence was significantly damaged.

"There has been overwhelming response from our own employees, Missouri residents and the nation in general," Lynn Wallis said. "[We] continue to do what we can to help. Adam and Rachel [Andreasson, vice president of organizational services] were coordinating with Landshire and our commissary to make and deliver sandwiches to the workers in the affected area. There is so much to be done and the needs will be there for a long time to come. But hopefully, little things will make a difference."

And Bill Walljasper, senior vice president and CFO of Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey's General Stores Inc., said that the company's area stores were not directly affected. "We were fortunate that we were not in the path of the tornado in Joplin," he told CSP Daily News.

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