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    QuikTrip Moves Into Tucson

    QT Kitchens will be part of the store.

    TULSA, Okla. -- In its first expansion into a new market in more than seven years, QuikTrip Corp., based here, plans to ove into Tucson, Ariz., according to a report by Inside Tucson Business.

    "We've been eyeing Tucson for a long time," said Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public and government affairs. "We are coming."

    Thornbrugh couldn't say when the store will open. "It won't be for a while, it will take some time for us to do what we want to do," he said. "We want to become a fixture in Tucson. We believe we are a perfect fit for Tucson and we believe it will be a success."

    In the past, QuikTrip has come into new markets, opening stores in quick succession. Phoenix was its most recent new market, opening in 2000. By July 2006, it had opened its 50th store there.

    QuikTrip regularly ranks among Fortune magazine's list of the top 100 best companies to work for. It was ranked No. 21 in the latest list.

    Wages in the Phoenix market start at about $10.67 per hour, according to the company's Web site and employees receive benefits including paid sabbaticals, according to the report.

    By summer, QuikTrip will open its 500th store. This September, the company will celebrate 50 years in business. It has 10,500 employees in 494 stores in nine states. Its major markets are Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, St. Louis, Tulsa, Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; and Phoenix.

    "Phoenix has been doing very well for us, and Tucson is just too appealing," Thornbrugh said.

    Tucson will be the first market where the company will build its QT Kitchens from the ground-up as part of the store's original construction. QT Kitchens offer gourmet-style sandwiches, grilled items, wraps, pastries, cookies and muffins. Previously, the company had these type of items brought in to each store but has found success in making the items fresh at each location and has retrofitted older locations to accommodate the kitchens.

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