, , ,

Kwik Trip to invest $151M in expansion to boost company’s continued growth

WEDC authorizes Kwik Trip to qualify for $15M in additional tax credits from 2017 zone

A red Kwik Trip logo is displayed on the roof of a Kwik Trip gas station.
A Kwik Trip sign on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, in Janesville, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Kwik Trip plans to spend over $151 million in Wisconsin to support the company’s continued growth. The move will create more than 500 jobs by 2027.

Those plans would qualify the La Crosse-based convenience store chain to earn an additional $15 million in state tax credits through an agreement established in 2017.

The company’s plan includes upgrading its production facilities in La Crosse, purchasing and renovating a commercial office building in Onalaska and constructing a new distribution center at a to-be-determined location.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ben Leibl, a public relations specialist for Kwik Trip, said the company is currently adding roughly 30 to 50 new stores each year. He said the chain’s investment will help get products to those retail locations by expanding its dairy, commissary and bakery facilities in La Crosse.

“We need to make sure we take the proper steps to make sure that we’re staying ahead of the curve to make sure that our stores are well stocked,” Leibl said.

Customers enter and exit the front doors of a Kwik Trip convenience store on a sunny day.
Customers shop at Kwik Trip on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, in Janesville, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Leibl couldn’t provide details regarding the location of a new distribution facility, but he said it will be used to house products until truck drivers can deliver them to stores.

He also said the Onalaska property is a three-story building that will be used for employee training, the accounting department and other departments.

Leibl said the company is running out of space at its corporate headquarters in La Crosse and the new facility will provide a more modern space for store management training.

“They can have a nicer facility where they can learn about the culture of Kwik Trip and the different operations as far as the store goes,” Leibl said.

New investment qualifies Kwik Trip for incentives from the state

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., or WEDC, announced the company’s expansion plans Monday. WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes said the board last week approved an amended agreement for the 2017 Enterprise Zone to allow the company to receive an additional $15 million in tax credits to support its expansion.

“As always, with the tax credits, these are performance-based,” she said. “They’re not earned by the company until the company performs in creating the jobs and investing in those capital expenditures.”

Enterprise Zones are geographic areas eligible for refundable tax credits, typically awarded to Wisconsin businesses undergoing major expansions. According to WEDC, those credits can be earned through job creation, job retention, capital investment, employee training and supply chain purchases from Wisconsin vendors.

Kwik Trip’s original tax credit was created in 2017 to support the company’s investment of at least $378 million to bolster its production facilities, and offered $21 million in tax credits, Hughes said. The state eventually amended the initial agreement, letting the company access an additional $5 million in tax credits. With the third and latest amendment, the company could receive up to a total of $41 million from the state.

Since the zone was established, Kwik Trip’s investment has far exceeded what was anticipated at this point in the project, according to WEDC.

The agency said Kwik Trip has invested $325 million in Wisconsin support center operations, creating nearly 1,800 new tax credit-eligible jobs. In fact, the company’s construction and acquisition of 168 new retail locations boosted its eligible employee count from 4,342 in 2017 to 12,442 this year.

A driver stands outside as he pumps gas at a Kwik Trip.
Drivers fuel up their cars at Kwik Trip on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, in Janesville, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Hughes said that consistent growth gave WEDC confidence in continuing to support Kwik Trip in 2023.

“Kwik Trip is truly investing in Wisconsin,” she said. “Not only are they creating more production facilities and distribution facilities in Wisconsin, but we see that they keep adding stores.”

According to WEDC, Kwik Trip operates 865 convenience stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and South Dakota. Of those stores, 506 are in the Badger State.

In addition to investing in stores, Leibl said the company also invests in its workforce, sharing 40 percent of its pre-tax profits with employees.

“Growth is good, not only for Kwik Trip, but most importantly for our coworkers and the communities we serve,” said Scott Zietlow, the CEO and president of Kwik Trip, in a statement. “We are able to provide strong, vibrant jobs throughout Wisconsin. We appreciate the support from the WEDC to make this happen.”