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    QuikTrip Making Tweaks in Wichita

    The c-store chain plans new, bigger and potentially relocated stores.

    WICHITA, Kan. -- QuikTrip "under construction" signs will popping up around Wichita this year, as the Tulsa, Okla.-based convenience store chain promises another year of tweaking its business model in this market where it operates 37 stores, The Wichita Eagle reported.

    Tweaking means new stores, bigger stores and potentially relocated stores, QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh told the newspaper. Three projects are in the works in Wichita: a "scrape and build" at Douglas and Washington where a new, larger store will be built; a new store in the 12000 block of East 21st Street slated to open in April; and another new store, at 39th North and Ridge Road, although no work has begun there yet.

    The new 4,600-square-foot stores -- up from a little more than 3,000 square feet -- are in response to QuikTrip's growing line of food and drinks, Thornbrugh said. They're also being developed with an eye toward more gasoline pumps and larger spaces for better traffic flow.

    Fresh food heads the list of lines QuikTrip may expand. "Everything we need is now in place -- the five bakeries, the transportation systems, all the employees," Thornbrugh said. "Now, we need to focus on expanding the menu, and it takes time to do that."

    QuikTrip also is evaluating its older Wichita locations, turning to the "scrape and builds," which entails building a new store while the old one remains open, then knocking down the old building to make room for parking and the gasoline offering. New locations are a possibility where land isn't available for scrape and builds, said Thornbrugh.

    What isn't likely from QuikTrip is expansion in Kansas beyond the Wichita market. The company's store and employee costs make it essential to locate in high-volume, large-population metropolitan areas, Thornbrugh told The Wichita Eagle.

    "We never say never, but what we're doing now with the amount of money we spend on stores, personnel and benefits, we need a large population base," he said. "So our expansion plans, based on those costs, are in places like Dallas, Phoenix and Tucson."

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