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TULSA, Okla. -- QuikTrip Corp. plans to unveil a new, bigger store design next spring in its hometown of Tulsa, as the chain tries to grab a larger piece of the retail market, Tulsa World reported.
Already the area's dominant convenience store chain, the company intends to start building the new store soon west of downtown Tulsa in the Gilcrease Hills neighborhood.
The new store will be roughly 20 percent larger than existing outlets and feature a wider selection of prepared foods, spokesman Mike Thornbrugh told the newspaper. "It's no secret that we're changing stripes and moving into the fresh food business," he said.
The growing emphasis on food, such as sandwiches, taquitos and pastries, is a method for the company to grow same-store business, while facing uncertainty in the gasoline industry from new technologies that could someday decrease demand for the fuel.
QuikTrip operates 500 stores nationwide, along with fresh food bakeries in Tulsa, Kansas City, Atlanta, Phoenix and a recently completed location in Dallas. Annual sales for the company are approximately $8 billion, according to the Tulsa World report.
QuikTrip executives plan to use the location as a test model for future stores. If the design is a success, eventually all new stores will resemble the new layout.
While still selling fuel, the new store harkens back to QuikTrip's origins, when it sold only food and grocery items. The company didn't put gasoline pumps in until 25 years after its founding. It also expands on QuikTrip's venture four years ago into hot foods when the retailer introduced QT Kitchens, the report stated.
Thornbrugh said the new store design will be a noticeable change for customers. The Gilcrease Hills location will have 12 fuel pumps with 24 car slots, like other larger QuikTrip locations. However, the prototype will also have parking and entrance doors on three sides for customers, as opposed to one or two at existing locations.
"A big reason for the new design is that the stores are so congested. We want to give people better access," Thornbrugh said, noting the new stores will be around 4,600 square feet -- 700 to 800 feet larger than the current store model.
The new layout also puts a lane behind the store and doors for deliveries, so customers won't have to compete with trucks and drivers bringing supplies to the store.
"The building will actually look more like a restaurant," Thornbrugh said.
Store officials are still working on a new layout for inside the store, but Thornbrugh told the newspaper that regular QuikTrip customers will be able to see a difference.
The biggest reason for the change, though, is to allow the company to expand its fresh food offerings. Thornbrugh said there will be more varieties of sandwiches, hot dogs and egg rolls and even potential in the future for items such as fried chicken.
The planned store is replacing an older QuikTrip at the same intersection. The company has run into some opposition from neighbors who fear the site will become a "Super QuikTrip" and heavily increase traffic at the intersection.
If the company gets tripped up in building the Gilcrease Hills store, Thornbrugh said it won't hesitate to build the prototype store elsewhere in Tulsa or in another market.
QuikTrip hopes to open the store by spring, according to the report.
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