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    Midwest Chains have New Stores in the Works

    Kum & Go to open in Neosho, Mo., while Casey's eyes bigger location for Evansdale, Iowa.

    DES MOINES and ANKENY, Iowa -- Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go plans to build a new c-store in Neosho, Mo., near the corner of Kodiak Road and U.S. Highway 60, a company spokesman confirmed late last week to The Neosho Daily News.

    According to Kum & Go director of communications Meggan Kring, construction is scheduled to begin this spring for the store.

    Newton County courthouse records show the property was purchased roughly a week before Christmas in two separate transactions. The first was Dec. 17, with Neosho Developers LLC, which owns a small corner of land fronting both Kodiak and Highway 60. The other deed contract signed Dec. 18, was with Helen Wylie, who at the time owned approximately 15 acres of surrounding land. Together, the portions of the two tracts make up Kum & Go’s property, the report stated.

    Kring told the newspaper the convenience store will feature six gas pumps and three truck diesel fueling stations. Neosho was selected as a good location for the new store because of the city’s good population and employment base, she said. "We’re growing in that area," Kring said.

    She also noted U.S. Highway 71 is "the main corridor for car/truck traffic" from Joplin, Mo., to Bentonville, Ark., which she said played a factor as well in the decision to open a store in the area. The Neosho Kum & Go will be located less than one-quarter mile from that highway’s exit and be clearly visible by passing traffic.

    Meanwhile, another Iowa-based convenience retailer, Casey’s General Stores, headquartered in Ankeny, would like to replace its aging store at 3601 Lafayette Rd. in Evansdale, Iowa with a more modern, larger facility, WCFCourier.com reported.

    The new, expanded Casey's General Store could be in the city's future if some legal and land hurdles are cleared. Casey's Chief Financial Officer Bill Walljasper said it's premature to say it's a done deal, as several things need to fall into place, including the acquisition of land and approval to move utility poles, according to the report.

    "We're definitely looking to replace it. Evansdale is a good community that really supports [us]," Walljasper said, noting if a new Casey's is built here, it will be of the updated design the company implemented in September. Of the retailer’s 1,465 corporate stores in the Midwest, there's only eight or nine of the new model are open.

    The stores, complete with slate floors and more amenities, are larger than existing facilities. Besides the typical offerings -- gas, drinks, staple food items, pizza, etc. -- the new stores also have an expanded coffee bar and made-to-order sub sandwiches.

    "It's a better opportunity to serve people," Walljasper told WCFCourier.com. "[But] we're a long way off getting it going."

    Last Tuesday, the Evansdale City Council discussed the Casey's project. Mayor Chad Deutsch reported the company is in negotiations to purchase a closed car wash owned by Duane Kress of Independence just to the east of the existing store.

    Casey’s also needs a small portion of city-owned property that used to be a railroad behind the existing store. However, Canadian National Railway still has the easement rights on the land and would have to approve utility poles to be placed there. Deutsch said Casey’s asked the city for a portion of its land and to help pay half of the $2,500 processing fee charged by the railroad for legal work.

    "I don't see why not if it will increase the tax base. We want to encourage that," Deutsch said. "Casey’s builds a beautiful store."

    No action was taken by the council Tuesday, the mayor said. The city is waiting for approval from the railroad, which Deutsch explained is usually a formality.

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