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Kwik Trip

April 17, 2024
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Famous for Glazers and growth: Kwik Trip set for a $151 million expansion

The company draws on Wisconsin’s supply chain and manufacturing expertise to keep its popular and welcoming retail stores stocked.

What began as a convenience store—a novel idea when Kwik Trip opened its first location on South Hastings Way in Eau Claire in 1965—has grown to a string of more than 860 stores that serve 11.5 million customers in six states every week. From its humble beginnings, Kwik Trip—now based in La Crosse—has become a familiar and successful brand, selling gasoline, prepared food, groceries, beer, and its signature Glazers doughnuts. For a company that manufactures many of its own food products, growth in retail locations means manufacturing and distribution capacity must also expand to keep those stores stocked and customers satisfied.

Growth, popularity are Kwik Trip trademarks

From that first store, Kwik Trip expanded to several locations in Eau Claire. In 1971, it opened its first La Crosse store and moved its corporate offices to the city in 1973.

By 1983, Kwik Trip had grown to 50 stores—and it doubled that number over the next three years. What started out as a partnership between the Hansen and Zietlow families became a Zietlow operation in 2000 when that family purchased the Hansens’ interest in the company.

Over the years, the company developed a cult following of sorts. For example, in 2023, a Ripon woman rode her Harley-Davidson motorcycle to visit all of the chain’s more than 500 Wisconsin locations—and ventured into three other states to visit about 40 more—in an 11-day ride.

The company says it hires employees (known as coworkers) based on their friendliness, humility, and willingness to help customers—who hear a familiar parting line upon leaving the store: “See you next time.” Customers obviously respond.

“Growth is good, not only for Kwik Trip but, most importantly, for our coworkers and the communities we serve.”

Scott Zietlow

President and CEO, Kwik Trip

Expanding its footprint in Wisconsin

In late 2023, the company announced plans to invest more than $151 million to expand its operations at multiple Wisconsin locations. It will expand its dairy, bakery, and commissary operations in La Crosse, construct a new satellite distribution center, and purchase and renovate an Onalaska office building. The company expects the expansion to create more than 500 jobs by 2027.

“While most of us are familiar with Kwik Trip for its retail operations, the company continues to grow its manufacturing and supply-chain base in our state, which is creating hundreds of jobs and new investments even faster than anyone could have anticipated,” says WEDC secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.

WEDC authorized an additional $15 million in performance-based Enterprise Zone Tax Credits to help make the project a reality. It is the third time the state has invested in Kwik Trip’s Wisconsin growth, raising the company’s total tax credit eligibility to $41 million.

Since the state entered into the Enterprise Zone agreement with Kwik Trip in 2017, the company has invested more than $325 million into its Wisconsin support center, created nearly 1,800 jobs, and fostered relationships with Wisconsin supply-chain partners.

Scott Zietlow, Kwik Trip’s president and CEO, was enthusiastic about WEDC’s role in the project.

“Growth is good, not only for Kwik Trip but, most importantly, for our coworkers and the communities we serve,” Zietlow said. “As our Top Workplaces USA recognition reflects, we are able to provide strong, vibrant jobs throughout Wisconsin. We appreciate the support from the WEDC to make this happen.”


Kwik Trip

Expand Wisconsin production, distribution, and office facilities

State support:
Enterprise Zone Tax Credits through WEDC

Enhanced operations, expanded employment at the growing and successful convenience store chain

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