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Kwik Trip awarded additional $5 million in tax credits for exceeding expansion goals

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Kwik Trip to receive up to $21 million in tax credits, create 300 jobs

Kwik Trip’s new bread and bun bakery, part of a $300 million expansion underway, being constructed at its headquarters in the La Crosse Industrial Park in this 2017 file photo.

Kwik Trip is being awarded an additional $5 million in tax credits by the state after it exceeded original job growth and capital investment goals at its La Crosse campus over the last five years, even throughout the pandemic.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, or WEDC, announced Wednesday that it is awarding the Wisconsin company additional performance-based tax incentives on top of up to $21 million it was already awarded for expanding its headquarters.

“We’re very grateful that in the midst of the last 15 months, Kwik Trip has continued to be successful as a company. As we all know a lot of companies didn’t have success or they struggled,” said John McHugh, spokesperson for the Midwest favorite.

John McHugh headshot

McHugh

In 2017, WEDC created an Enterprise Zone for Kwik Trip’s expansion of its food production and support campus located on La Crosse’s North Side, a mechanism that incentivises investment and development in impoverished areas.

This ongoing expansion included developing more production possibilities, and the company has already completed its kitchen facilities where it produces its new take-home meals, and will soon produce and ship fresh cut vegetables and fruits, which used to be supplied from a third party.

Next, Kwik Trip will work to expand and improve its dairy production facilities, products that have seen sales increase in the last year, especially for its ice cream, McHugh said.

The WEDC contract allowed Kwik Trip to collect up to $21 million in tax credits, and Kwik Trip expected that the expansion would create 329 new jobs and invest at least $309 million into the project.

The company has now made good on that promise, and then some, even throughout the pandemic, creating 527 new jobs so far and spending more than $230 million in capital investment — prompting more funding rewards for the convenience store and gas station chain.

“Kwik Trip is a Wisconsin success story,” said Missy Hughes of WEDC. “While most of us are familiar with Kwik Trip for its retail operations, the company continues to grow its manufacturing and supply chain base in our state, which is creating hundreds of jobs and new investments even faster than anyone could have anticipated.”

Kwik Trip Construction

Trailers are lined up along the loading docks at Kwik Trip headquarters in this 2020 file photo. An expansion project is underway at the same building.

Kwik Trip will specifically be eligible for an additional $5 million in tax credits, and now anticipates the expansion project will create 662 new full-time jobs and invest more than $378 million, which does not include jobs or investments at its 456 retail stores.

The company said that its business model helped find success during the pandemic, seeing higher demand for its products that prompted them to accelerate work on the expansion.

“Most retailers had to have a third party supplier provide their eggs or their milk or their butter, and that became problematic. So you saw a lot of out-of-stocks in some stores. But Kwik Trip, we were able, because we control our own production, we were able to ramp up production of the basic staples, like 2% milk or loaves of white bread. We can adjust our production accordingly so that all of our stores stay fully stocked,” McHugh said.

That, and the “Kwik” part of the family-owned company aided in their success.

“Sometimes people were uncomfortable shopping during the pandemic, so they wanted to get in and out quickly,” McHugh said. “The average customer in our store is there less than three minutes, so it gave them a quick access to those commodities.”

Missy Hughes

Missy Hughes

The new goal of creating over 600 jobs is a hefty one, especially as many businesses see barriers in hiring amid the pandemic, but Kwik Trip said it is a goal it feels it can reach.

“The hiring environment has become much more challenging for all of us. What has helped us is that we’ve been known the last 10 years as a top workplace,” McHugh said, saying that when people research good opportunities for work in the area, they often find Kwik Trip.

The new jobs it plans to create will be at its production facility in La Crosse, and wages for the new positions will begin at $16 an hour in June, McHugh said, who noted that the positions requiring working with advanced technology and automation.

Kwik Trip said this additional boost from the state will help it continue to build off its successful business model throughout the pandemic and beyond.

“We’re very grateful that all of that worked out for us, but it’s contingent on having all of these production facilities on our own here in La Crosse,” McHugh said. “It would not have worked without that.”

"Kwik Trip is a Wisconsin success story. While most of us are familiar with Kwik Trip for its retail operations, the company continues to grow its manufacturing and supply chain base in our state, which is creating hundreds of jobs and new investments even faster than anyone could have anticipated."

Missy Hughes of WEDC

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