By Trevor Anderson
Posted with permission from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
Published: Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 3:15am
Another convenience store chain has planted its flag in Spartanburg County and South Carolina.
Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip Corp. on Friday officially opened its 5,700-square-foot, 20-pump gas station at 140 Candlenut Lane in Boiling Springs.
The store is the first location the privately held company, recognized by its “QT” banners, plans to open in the county by early 2012 and a starting point for its aggressive expansion into the state.
“QuikTrip announced a little over a year ago that we would begin operations in South Carolina. We’re absolutely thrilled at the day has finally come,” said Chet Cadieux, president and CEO of QuikTrip, in a statement. “QuikTrip’s purpose is to give our employees the opportunity to grow and succeed … I can’t think of a better place in the country to be building stores right now.”
Customers were greeted by a full-service coffee bar, a plethora of fountain and frozen drinks, snack foods lined up on low displays, coolers crammed with craft beers, soft-serve ice cream and self-serve stations with prepared foods like sandwiches, biscuits, hot dogs, taquitos and other fresh pastries.
The store is an example of the company’s next-generation design, meant to enhance the customer’s shopping experience and keep them from waiting in line. It also has outdoor seating, a Wells Fargo ATM machine and a touch screen ordering system for the coffee bar.
“Unfortunately, we’re in an industry that isn’t highly regarded for style and design but want to change that,” said Mike Thornbrugh, QuikTrip’s manager of public and government affairs. “We will raise the standard.”
Thornbrugh said the company’s entrance into South Carolina is a blitzkrieg-style plan that calls for building a number of stores in a very short period of time.
A second store will open soon at 121 Fairview Church Road at Exit 77 of I-85. The third will open in November at 7114 Lone Oak road on Hearon Circle. A fourth is scheduled to open in February at 489 W. Main St. on the site that used to be Joe Gibson’s Auto World.
The company has established its management office for the South Carolina division in Greenville.
QuikTrip marked the opening of the Boiling Springs store with a $25,000 donation to the United Way of the Piedmont.
Thornbrugh said each new store represents about a $3.5 million investment and employs approximately 15 people.
“It’s not often you can say that a gas station enhances a community, but in this case it truly does,” said County Council Chaiman Jeff Horton. “If all of their stores turn out like this, then it will truly be a boon for Spartanburg residents. Not to mention, it will help keep gas prices low and bring new tax dollars to the community. It’s good to have this investment.”
Thornbrugh said QuikTrip was anxious to compete for a share of the local market with the likes of Raceway, BP, Greenville-based Spinx Co. and R.L. Jordan Oil Co., which operates Hot Spot stations.
“We keep our gas prices low, and the difference is that we guarantee every drop we sell,” he said. “It works out great because it’s the customer who is the beneficiary.”
Customers appeared to be happy with the new store. It’s pump price of $2.89 per gallon of regular fuel was one of the lowest in the county, according to Gasbuddy.com.
“It feels good,” said Robert Powell, of Spartanburg, who stopped to fill up his tank on Friday. “It’s always good to see gas prices going down, and it’s a pleasure to have a place like this in the community.”
QuikTrip said it currently owns 582 retail outlets in 10 states.
For more information, visit: www.quiktrip.com.