Kwik Trip Expanding Operations, Creating 300 Jobs In Wisconsin

The retail convenience store company will invest $113 million in a new bakery and other capital investments in La Crosse, WI.

Kwik Trip Inc., which owns and operates more than 600 retail convenience stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, has announced a $300 million capital investment project that will enable the growing company to meet its capacity needs for the foreseeable future. The company plans to invest $113 million in a new 200,000-square-foot bread and bun production facility, as well as expansions and improvements in its dairy manufacturing facility, kitchen operations and transportation fleet. The project is expected to create more than 300 jobs in the La Crosse, WI area over the next five years. Construction of the new bakery is expected to be completed by late fall of 2018.

La Crosse Wisconsin
Photo: Corey Coyle

“The multimillion-dollar capital expenditures in Kwik Trip’s bakery, dairy, kitchen and transportation facilities will generate a significant return on investment for the state of Wisconsin and the city of La Crosse in the form of new and expanded tax base, job opportunities for our co-workers, construction contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers,” said John McHugh, Director of Corporate Communications and Leadership Development for Kwik Trip. “This will result in the purchase of additional fleet vehicles and the construction of more efficient production plants that will create higher capacity, productivity, and cost savings which will allow Kwik Trip to better accommodate the needs of our guests in the 621 stores and numerous communities we currently serve.”

The projects will support the family-owned company’s plans to open 40 to 50 new stores annually, including a significant number in Wisconsin. In order to reach the goal, the company needs to make significant investments in its buildings, equipment and employees at its La Crosse support center and production facilities. Otherwise, the company projects that its production facilities will run out of capacity over the next five years. Kwik Trip’s production, distribution, transportation and corporate support facilities currently comprise over 1 million square feet on the company campus of over 120 acres.

Expanding its own food production operations enables the company to continue to control food quality, food offerings, food safety, and company efficiencies. As a result, Kwik Trip can control its costs and continue offering quality products and low prices.

The largest component of the project is the investment of $42 million in new facilities and $71 million in state-of-the art equipment for the bread and bun production facility. The new facility will include two new lines that will enable Kwik Trip to significantly increase its production of bread and buns. As a direct result of moving bread and bun production into a new plant, the company plans to make a significant investment in the existing bakery to enhance the capabilities for sweet goods production.

“With more than 380 stores and 12,000 employees in Wisconsin, Kwik Trip has already shown a strong commitment to our state, and that commitment is being solidified with this expansion,” said Governor Scott Walker. “Kwik Trip is the latest example of companies seeking to expand in Wisconsin because of our pro-business policies and dedicated workforce.”

To help secure the company’s investment in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has authorized Kwik Trip to receive up to $21 million in state income tax credits over the next five years. The actual amount of tax credits the company will earn are contingent upon the number of jobs created, the level of capital investment and the amount it spends on purchasing equipment, goods and services from Wisconsin companies through 2022. Kwik Trip met all of the required criteria and standards in the tax credit application, review and approval process.

In addition to the more than 300 jobs expected to be created by Kwik Trip over the next five years, an economic modeling study projects that the project will indirectly generate 235 additional jobs in the region. The direct and indirect jobs could generate up to $1.1 million annually in additional state income tax revenue.

“Kwik Trip’s decision to expand is great news for the La Crosse region as well as the entire state,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Kwik Trip currently purchases over $900 million each year in goods and services from Wisconsin companies, and this expansion will further increase opportunities for statewide supply chain.”

Kwik Trip currently operates 621 stores and employs over 20,000 co-workers in three states, including 380 stores and over 12,700 co-workers in Wisconsin. The stores receive daily deliveries of fresh baked goods, dairy products, soups, salads, fruit, produce, sandwiches and sell grocery products, general merchandise, gasoline, and related petroleum products.

As a vertically integrated company, Kwik Trip operates its own bakery, dairy, water bottling line, kitchens, food safety lab, distribution center, ice plant, LP plant, blow mold facility, transportation company and health clinic, and makes, ships and sells 80 percent of its own branded products. Kwik Trip is building 56 new stores in 2017, including 36 in Wisconsin.

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