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Kwik Trip plans two new stores for Medford; construction in 2021

Two new Kwik Trip stores are planned for the city of Medford with construction scheduled for spring 2021.

At Monday’s meeting of the planning commission, members approved a site plan and a series of certified survey maps for a new gas station and convenience store to be located between Northwoods Plaza and the Perrin Surface Solution on the city’s north side.

The site will include the private access road that leads into the Golden Oaks complex and have an entrance onto Hwy 13 with an existing shared driveway with Perrin’s Surface Solution.

Kwik Trip’s representative stated the company intended to develop the private road to meet or exceed city road specifications in order to be the primary truck traffic entry point for the store. However, the company representative said they plan to keep it as a private road to ensure more prompt snow removal and maintenance in the future.

Commission action was needed to approve the separation and merger of pre-existing lots in the area to give Kwik Trip the OK to create the approximately 4.36 acre lot on which they plan to build. As part of the construction process the existing Shay Creek Sports building will be torn down. Store owners on Tuesday confirmed they were in the process of securing a new location in the city of Medford in which to relocate the store. The location of that store will be reported as plans become finalized.

According to Dax Connely a real estate manager with Kwik Trip, the Medford store will be one of the company’s new Generation 3 store designs featuring a full brick face, attached car wash and large food area. He said it would be comparable in size to the Kwik Trip recently built in Rib Mountain at about 11,000 square feet total with a 9,000 square foot retail and serving space.

Connely said the new stores are among the biggest the company builds. In addition to the store at the north end of the city, Connely confirmed the company also plans to build a store closer to the south end on the east side of Hwy 13 near Perkins St. While the site plans are still in development for that location and were not up for approval at Monday’s meeting, Connely said the plan would be to have both stores built in 2021 so that crews would move from one to the other. When asked by Mayor Mike Wellner why Kwik Trip was looking at two new stores in Medford, Connely said the traffic counts on Hwy 13 justified having them according to the company’s criteria.

“Medford is unique in the way it is set up,” Connely said. “There are not too many cities with 5,000 or less people with two large Kwik Trips.”

The store location will allow for drivers entering the city from the north and south.

“They are a nice gateway to the city,” Connely said, noting that having two new stores coming is something the city should be proud of.

Connely said the Generation 3 stores typically employ between 25 and 30 full-time employees with about 40 employees total in each store. He estimated the current store on Clark St. and Hwy 13 near the Medford Plaza had between 20 and 24 total employees.

One of the biggest changes between the current pre-Generation 1 store and the new stores will be the expanded food offerings and food prepared on site. Connely said it will include a mini-grocery store as well as take-and-go food options including chicken and other popular menu items. He said the company offers 10 different types of take home meals. A unique feature among Kwik Trips is the amount of vertical integration with about 80% of the products sold being produced by Kwik Trip.

As far as timeline, Connely said the company has plans to put up about 50 new stores each year. He noted that they take about eight months to a year for Kwik Trip to do the background legwork before construction begins. Kwik Trip has stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. In Iowa the stores go by the Kwik Star brand name to avoid confusion with another regional convenience store chain in that state.

He said typically the goal would be to do site preparation in the fall with construction to begin in the spring, which means that work could begin as early as fall 2020. Construction usually takes about 20 weeks with Kwik Trip serving as its own general contractor with dedicated building crews. He said while the company serves as general contractor, they will hire subcontractors in the areas where they are working.

After the store on the north side of Medford is opened sometime in 2021, the company will shut down the existing store. Connely said this includes taking down the canopy, removing the pumps and fuel tanks and then marketing the building to be sold. He said a variety of secondary uses from insurance offices to clinics and pizza places have gone into their old locations.

Commission members unanimously approved the site plan for the new Kwik Trip and the new maps for the site.

In other business, commission members formally approved vacating a portion of Forest Street. This is a road that was planned as part of the Morningside Addition to the city more than a century ago. The road was put on the property maps as a dedicated street right of way but it was never built, instead Ogden St. was built about 100 feet to the north. Many of the houses in the area are built in the platted right of way which would cause headaches for homeowners. “If one of those houses burned down I would have to deny them a building permit to rebuild,” said city planner Bob Christensen, noting that you can’t build in city right of way. He recommended the city vacate the road. The next step in the vacation process will be a public hearing before final action is taken by the full city council.