With nearly 1,900 corporate stores across 14 states in the Midwest, publicly traded Casey's General Stores is an Iowa-based convenience-store force built on the premise that small towns are a good place to do business. Quarterly and annual same-store sales comparison figures bear this out, with steady increases in sales, especially in prepared foods. A pioneer in c-store pizza delivery, Casey's has been implementing online ordering at all stores in 2015, after a successful test at some stores earlier in the year.

In September, Casey's reported its fiscal first quarter 2016 results, which ended on July 31, 2015. Earnings per share rose 23% even though its fuel margin declined 1.4 cents per gallon over the prior year because of margin expansion in prepared foods. Same-store-sales in prepared food and fountain rose 10.3% with an average margin of 62.5%.

The company has remodeled some stores, converted others to 24-hour service and started delivering pizzas. Lower ingredient and supply costs also added to the improved margins. Grocery sales and cigarette sales were strong throughout the quarter. In the fuel category, Casey's grew same-store gallons sold by 3.4%, higher than its goal of 2% for the fiscal year. The company's policy on fuel pricing is to price to the competition.

Growth continues to be a crucial part of the company’s strategic focus; Casey’s has integrated the 24-store Stop-N-Go chain in Minnesota and North Dakota that it acquired in 2014, rebranding and renovating most of them. During the first three months of fiscal 2016, the company has opened eight new-store constructions, completed seven replacement stores, acquired one store and opened one store from a prior-year acquisition. The stated annual goal is to build or acquire 75 to 113 stores, replace 10 existing locations and complete 100 major store remodels.

Headquarters:Ankeny, Iowa
No. of Stores:1896
Average Store Size:2,500-4,000 sq. ft.
Rank Last Year:5
States of Operation: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin