NATIONAL REPORT – The convenience store industry landscape is constantly changing as chains open and close stores each week. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News highlights these comings and goings in this special roundup.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
Casey’s General Stores Inc.
A new Casey’s General Store opened in Murray, Ill., directly south of the town's school. The store is bringing approximately 20 new jobs to the community, and the design is the chain's most up-to-date version featuring doughnuts, pizza, a deli and soft-serve ice cream.
The opening ceremony brought out many local officials, including former Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell. Casey's Chairman, President and CEO Robert J. Myers also was in attendance, the Creston News Advertiser reported.
Kwik Trip Inc.
Kwik Trip, based in La Crosse, Wis., opened its third store in Austin, Minn. The chain took over Watts Cookin’ and Austin Auto Truck Plaza, reopening the location after only a few days.
The retailer plans to start construction in June or July on a new 7,000-square-foot truck stop here, which will likely open in November. The current facility will remain open during construction since the new one will be located on a different part of the property, according to the Alberta Lea Tribune.
“It’ll be the nicest convenience store and fuel station off of I-90 across the state of Minnesota,” Hans Zietlow, director of real estate for Kwik Trip, told the newspaper.
The new store will cost around $5 million to build. The site appealed to Kwik Trip because it offers a location for diesel fuel right along Interstate 90. The new station will also sell compressed natural gas, or CNG, which the company sees as the fuel of the future, Zietlow said, noting that Kwik Trip wants to build a fourth location in northwest Austin, but no plans are imminent.
Kwik Trip has more than 450 locations, including roughly 110 in Minnesota.
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores
Love’s, based in Oklahoma City, opened two new travel stops in April -- one in Oglesby, Ill., off exit 54 on Interstate 39, and the other in Salisbury, N.C., at exit 71 on Interstate 85.
The new Illinois location is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering driver services and amenities such as gourmet coffee, fresh fruit and gift merchandise, as well as a Hardee’s restaurant, 86 truck parking spaces, seven showers and an on-site Love’s Truck Tire Care center. Bulk DEF is available at the pump at all diesel lanes, along with RFID cardless fueling technology, CAT scales and other amenities to serve professional drivers.
The North Carolina location offers two on-site restaurants -- Chester’s International and McDonald’s -- and has 85 truck parking spaces, seven showers and an on-site Love’s Truck Tire Care center. Bulk DEF, RFID cardless fueling technology, CAT scales and other amenities are available here as well.
TravelCenters of America LLC
Westlake, Ohio-based TravelCenters opened a new TA Truck Service Center in Holbrook, Ariz. Located at exit 283 on Interstate 40, it offers four service bays and is open 24/7/365.
The addition of this location takes the total number of truck service facilities in TravelCenters' TA and Petro chains to 236. Highly trained ASE- and TIA-certified technicians are on staff, specializing in providing light-duty repair, brakes, electrical, alignment, air conditioning, preventive maintenance, inspections and RoadSquad emergency road call services.
Later this year, the Holbrook facility will offer Freightliner ServicePoint, an authorized express service and light-duty repair program available exclusively at TA and Petro truck service centers in cooperation with Daimler Trucks North America. Freightliner ServicePoint is a key referral point for Freightliner emergency and roadside repairs.
The new truck service facility has been built to include generator power in case of an electrical outage. Additionally, to enhance the comfort of professional drivers waiting for maintenance work to be performed, an outdoor patio and seating area is being designed for customers to enjoy. A large, indoor waiting area with a television is already available.
In other company news, TravelCenters recently opened a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant at its Petro Ontario travel center, located at exit 57 off Interstate 10 in Ontario, Calif. The restaurant offers southern-style cooking and will serve Popeyes’ full menu including chicken and shrimp meals and sandwiches, in addition to signature side dishes, sauces and desserts.
Popeyes is the third dining option at Petro Ontario, complementing a Burger King and an Iron Skillet full-service restaurant, which is consistently voted best by professional drivers.
Additionally, a new Iron Skillet 24-hour, full-service restaurant is now open at the chain's Petro Pearsall travel center on Interstate 35, exit 101 in Pearsall, Texas. The sit-down restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, including variety of StayFit better-for-you meal options.