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LA CROSSE, Wisc. -- Many factors play a role in the success of Kwik Trip, but a surprisingly key ingredient has been bananas. The convenience store operator began selling the fruit almost two decades ago and today it sells approximately 35 million pounds of bananas a year according to channel WXOW out of La Crosse.
"It’s been a good thing for Kwik Trip," said produce buyer Dale Gruntzel. "A single banana has about 100 calories. It’s a healthy alternative; it’s just a good thing."
Each day, Kwik Trip’s distribution center ships 80,000 pounds of bananas to its convenience stores --equaling the weight of three empty semi trucks, the news outlet reported. "From the time it’s harvested off the tree to the time it’s this color, it’s in our stores, it’s typically a 10-day process," Gruntzel explained.
The success may not be what you expect from not-so-tropical Wisconsin. The process starts in such South American countries as Guatemala and Colombia. The fruit is then shipped to Texas then trucked north to La Crosse. The bananas then spend days in ripening chambers. "It is a very touching thing. It takes a lot of special care, a lot of little handling, little details just to make sure you get the fruit to the stores the right color," he added.