The convenience top 101

#14

QuikTrip Corp.

Headquarters:Tulsa, Okla.
No. of Stores:674
Avg. Store Size:4,000+ sq. ft.
States of Operation:Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas

QuikTrip has a reputation for setting the bar for the convenience industry. It was one of the first chains to use "clustering": grouping stores together in areas rich in housing. QT also has no problem shuttering locations that aren't successful financially, for example, selling all of its sites in Springfield, Mo., because they no longer fit its focus on larger metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, QT has expanded in other markets such as South Carolina and most recently, North Carolina.

QT plans to opens its 700th store in 2014 and will eventually replace older stores with the latest "Gen 3" model that is nearly 6,000 square feet, or about 20% larger than existing outlets. The format features a wide selection of prepared foods, with 5,700 square feet of food and beverages, including 22 flavors of smoothies and frozen drinks, more hot dogs and hot food, and an emphasis on take-and-bake food, such as lasagna and pizza. The new concept stores also have touchscreen ordering for coffee drinks.

All QuikTrip stores sell the same merchandise and have the same layout. Products are top-tier brands and are displayed for ease of purchase. The chain is also an accomplished, high-volume fuel retailer, and it includes 10 to 12 MPDs at its Gen 3 stores.

QT is privately held, with employees owning nearly half of its stock. For the past 12 years, the chain has been named one of Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For."

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