‘Big Changes’ Coming to QuikTrip

Published in CSP Daily News

Retailer expands its headquarters to better serve its growing store base

TULSA, Okla. -- As QuikTrip Inc. nears its 700th store, the company continues to evolve into an industry leader in the convenience store and gas station realm, focusing hard on foodservice, though now mainly the fresh take-out variety, according to a Tulsa World account.

"The competition now is not between convenience stores," QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh told the newspaper. "It's big-box, it's fast-feeders, it's coffee."

On Friday, QuikTrip plans to break ground on an 80,000-square-foot expansion to its Tulsa headquarters, a move intended to provide more support to its growing stable of stores nationwide.

QuikTrip, according to Thornbrugh, has ambitions for the coming months and years, starting with opening a 700th store sometime in 2014 and moving even more aggressively into food and beverages.

"In the next six months and few years you will see some big changes at QuikTrip," he said.

In recent years Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip has expanded with QT Kitchens, regional food factories where fresh offerings for the stores are produced.

Justin McLaughlin, senior vice president of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, said QuikTrip's profile and reputation are a boost to the area's image as a business center.

"When we're hosting prospects from across the country, many of them always have a very positive impression of QuikTrip," McLaughlin told the newspaper. "They're constantly recognized as one of the nation's best employers, and they are very innovative in their industry."

QuikTrip now has stores in 11 markets in nine states, 674 stores in all. For the last three years, QuikTrip has been focusing on building bigger stores--its Generation 3 model--aimed at delivering more food options, including various coffees, baked goods and smoothies.

With nearly 6,000 square feet of space, nearly twice as big as some older stores, the Generation 3 model has expanded to 112 locations, Thornbrugh said, with more under construction.

Eventually, he said, the plan is to replace all stores with the model.

The new stores are also aimed at providing more food, whether it be fresh and fast, or take-home.

"We're getting into the fresh food market — the things you take home and cook," Thornbrugh said.

That means items such as pizza and lasagna will be offered on a widespread basis as the chain reaches to pry more business from the market traditionally dominated by grocery stores and restaurants.

"Hopefully you come to QuikTrip, you need gas, you're thirsty or you're hungry," Thornbrugh said. "The stomach portion is where we're looking to expand."