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    QuikTrip Capitalizes on Real Estate Slump to Boost Growth

    Cheaper land prices, motivated developers have given the chain more opportunities, says corporate director of real estate.

    TULSA, Okla. -- While the real estate slump has had negative effects on a wide range of people and businesses, QuikTrip Corp. has recognized the positive side as cheaper land prices and more motivated developers have allowed the chain to snag a greater number of potential store locations, according to Corporate Director of Real Estate Jeff Thoene, who was cited in a Tulsa World report.

    Thoene, who spoke at the monthly meeting of the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association's Tulsa Chapter on yesterday, said QuikTrip does not have a specific number of stores it plans to open, but will likely grow faster than usual due to the real estate opportunities.

    "Developments that previously didn't want a gas station or a convenience store are now coming to us," he said.

    The convenience store chain, though, does not rush the process of selecting new locations. QuikTrip's real estate group consists of 40 people who carefully evaluate possible sites, according to the report. They look for key factors such as number of nearby households, daytime population and traffic, location of competitors, and access and visibility.

    "Our site acquisition process isn't the shortest in the world, because our store locations are expensive and we don't want to make a mistake," Thoene said. The convenience retailer also want lots with a minimum of 1.5 acres of land. However, QuikTrip has learned to be flexible based on factors that are very good or very limiting.

    Company goals for the near future include spreading QuikTrip's new "Generation 3" store prototypes beyond Tulsa; seeking out new markets; and aggressively adding new types of food to be prepared at QT Kitchens, Thoene noted. "We focus on opening great locations, rather than a lot of locations," he added.

    QuikTrip currently employs more than 11,000 people at its 582 stores, 66 of which are in the Tulsa area. The company has opened 211 stores over the last eight years and is concentrating on establishing its presence in North Carolina and South Carolina, according to the newspaper.

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