3 Things You Don’t Know About Kwik Trip, Wisconsin’s Favorite Convenience Store

Credit: Kwik Trip's Facebook page

By Christina Lorey

April 20, 2023

You’d have to live under a rock to be unfamiliar with Kwik Trip. Or, more realistically, you’d have to never leave your house.

With more than 450 stores in all 72 counties, Kwik Trip is not only big in Wisconsin—it’s extraordinarily beloved.

A ‘Kwik’ History

Initially just a convenience store when it opened its first location in Eau Claire in 1965, Kwik Trip added gasoline to its services five years later. By 1971, the retailer expanded to five stores, moved its headquarters to La Crosse, and built a distribution center.

Over the next decade, Kwik Trip expanded its corporate offices three times, its distribution center twice, and hit the 100 stores mark in 1986.

Other notable company “firsts” include

  • 1993: Opened its first Iowa location (called Kwik Star to avoid confusion with QuikTrip)
  • 1997: Opened its first retail car wash
  • 1999: Merged its gas, grocery, and delivery departments to create its own transportation subsidiary
  • 2003: Introduced the famous “Glazer” [more on that below]
  • 2017: Acquired PDQ and its fresh fried chicken recipe
3 Things You Don't Know About Kwik Trip, Wisconsin's Favorite Convenience Store
Kwik Trip’s Wikipedia page

What Most Kwik Trip Fans Don’t Know

1. The company credits much of its success to its vertical integration business model. 

Kwik Trip makes almost all of its products on-site at its 90-acre La Crosse campus. At the Kwik Trip Dairy, workers churn the company’s own brand of ice cream, bottle their own milk, and even manufacture their own plastic jugs. At the Kwik Trip Commissary, employeescook everything from soup and fried chicken to preparing fresh salads and pizza. These foods, along with all other inventory, are then delivered to the chain’s locations through the Kwik Trip Distribution Center, where the company’s own fleet of trucks bring products to each store on a daily basis.

Kwik Trip headquarters also houses a cigarette stamping and tobacco humidor, its own fleet maintenance shop, an ice plant, and a food safety lab. Click here for a photo tour inside the plant!

2. As of January, Kwik Trip is run by a trauma surgeon who left his job at the Mayo Clinic to run the company. 

It’s not every day a doctor leaves the healthcare field to work at a convenience store, but on Jan. 1, Dr. Scott Zietlow did just that and succeeded his dad, Don, as the second-generation president and CEO of Kwik Trip Inc. He’s now in charge of the company’s 36,000 employees, who work at more than 800 locations across six states.

Zietlow is carrying on his dad’s legacy of being among the few companies to offer an employee stock ownership plan and share 40% of its pretax profits with all co-workers.

3. The Glazer is Kwik Trip’s top-selling product. 

Like all of the company’s baked goods, Kwik Trip’s famous donuts are made fresh daily at its  La Crosse headquarters. The facility produces more than two million donuts every week, which breaks down to 24,000 Glazers every hour, or approximately 400 every minute.

Who came up with the name? According to Kwik Trip, an employee submitted the idea to the marketing team. And the rest is history!

Now, some people on TikTok are getting creative, and making Glazer Donut Breakfast Casseroles. Click here to watch.

3 Things You Don't Know About Kwik Trip, Wisconsin's Favorite Convenience Store
Credit: Kwik Trip

BONUS: America agrees: Kwik Trip is the No. 1 gas station.

Last year, Kwik Trip landed in the No. 1 spot on USA Today’s year-end Best Gas Station Brand List.

“In-store bakeries make more than dozen different items each day, and all milk sold gets bottled within 24 hours of reaching the Kwik Trip dairy,” the explanation read.

Kwik Trip wasn’t Wisconsin’s only representative on the list. Another company that’s growing in popularity across the Badger State earned the #2 spot: Hy-Vee.

Author

  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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