Midwesterners who need to make a quick trip to get gas or
groceries, cigarettes or donuts, race on over to Kwik Trip stores.
Kwik Trip owns and operates about 400 Kwik Trip and Kwik Star
convenience stores throughout Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The
company also runs about a dozen Hearty Platter restaurants and
cafes, some 40 Tobacco Outlet Plus (TOP) cigar stores, and car
washes at some Kwik Trip store locations. All Kwik Trip
stores built since 1990 are owned by Convenience Store Investments,
a separate company, which leases the land and stores to Kwik Trip.
Kwik Trip, which opened its first store in 1965 in Eau Claire,
Wisconsin, is owned by the family of CEO Don Zietlow.
To supply its stores with baked goods and other foods, Kwik Trip
operates a 60,000-square-foot commissary and research facility
at its headquarters in southwestern Wisconsin. The bakery produces
the Kwickery Bake Shoppe line of bagels, buns, cookies, donuts,
muffins, and more, and its dairy packages the Nature's Touch brand
of fresh milk, ice cream, orange juice, and water. The company is
building a new 65,000-square-foot dairy facility in its
hometown of La Crosse to supply its own stores (and those owned by
others) with ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy products. Longer
term, the company hopes to develop its own plastic bottle
manufacturing plant. Food service currently accounts for about a
third of the company's annual profit, ahead of fuel.
Kwik Trip vertically integrates by processing its own gasoline
and producing and packaging products to be sold in its convenience
Kwik Trip is growing quickly. The convenience store chain
expects to add about 2,000 jobs across the company by late 2013, to
staff and supply its growing number of stores. Kwik Trip is
testing a new 5,000-square-foot store format designed to
appeal to soccer moms and other female customers. The new, more
upscale look includes wood fixtures and subdued florescent lighting
combined with accent lighting. To supply its larger store base the
company is building a new 65,000-square-foot dairy facility in its
hometown of La Crosse.
To compensate for shrinking fuel and tobacco margins, the
regional convenience store chain has been expanding its food
offerings -- adding soup and chili to its menu of pizza,
tacos, salads, and other hot and fresh items --and plans to enter
the take-home meals market with entrees such as lasagna,
chicken, beef, pork, fish, and meat loaf. Indeed, over the past
several years the company has greatly expanded its food production
activities and has begun selling food on a wholesale basis to other
retailers, including noncompeting retailers and school
districts. The company estimates that by 2030 the wholesale
business could account for as much as half of the food that Kwik
The John Hansen family founded Kwik Trip in Eau Claire,
Wisconsin in 1965. In 2000, the Hansens sold their interest in Kwik
Trip to the Zietlow family for $120 million. The two families had
jointly owned Kwik Trip since 1972.