'Mad Dash' for Natural State Real Estate

Casey's, Kum & Go competing for territory in northwestern Arkansas

Published in CSP Daily News

FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Two Iowa-based convenience chains, Casey's General Stores Inc. and Kum & Go LC, have been in a "mad dash" to carve up territory in Benton and Washington counties in northwestern Arkansas for the past 18 months, according to a report by The City Wire.

Casey's has built seven stores in that corner of the Natural State, with three more under construction, and one more being debated in Bella Vista.

"We've been in the process for a while to penetrate the state of Arkansas, and this is the first step in that," Bill Walljasper, Casey's senior vice president and chief financial officer, told CSP Daily News in April 2011, when the company opened its first location there. "We also have plans for numerous other stores that we've identified sites for in the Arkansas area. It's certainly a state that we believe would be very good for us to step into and have relationships with the communities."

Casey's has said that it will add a total of 40 stores chain-wide in fiscal 2013, with 13 of those are already under construction and eight more sites are planned with property negotiations underway.

Kum & Go is also "off to the races" in northwestern Arkansas after the chain opened its first two stores in the Little Rock area in 2011, said the newspaper. Since then, Kum & Go has built 15 stores in Benton and Washington counties, almost half of the 37 sites in the entire state.

Including stores in Arkansas, Kum & Go has been on a multi-state new-store push recently, opening nearly 20 new locations since the beginning of November (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage).

The two chains are no stranger to competition as they have been battling for territory across the Midwest for more than three decades, the report said. But that doesn't mean they won't cooperate--Casey's recently closed a deal to purchase 22 Kum & Go stores in Iowa, Missouri and North Dakota (see Related Content below).

Based in Ankeny, Iowa, Casey's operates approximately 1,700 stores in 12 states--Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky. The company said that it expects to open its first store in Tennessee soon, as well as  possible expansion into Michigan in the works (see Related Content below).

West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go has more than 400 convenience stores in 11 states--Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.