QuikTrip Moves Into Tucson

Thursday, April 17th 2008, 6:37 pm
By: News On 6

QuikTrip is a Tulsa business icon.  Their ever-expanding presence across the country is increasing yet again.  The News On 6's Steve Berg reports they're dipping their toe in the Tucson, Arizona, market for the first time.

QT says their first Tucson store should be open in about a year.  And, they're not done expanding in their existing markets either.

QuikTrip's Marketing Vice-President Jim Denny says the Tucson market is a logical extension of the rapidly growing Phoenix market.

"It allows us to have some economies of scale because we have some things we can do to operate that market out of the Phoenix market," said QT's Jim Denny.

Phoenix has nearly as many stores as Tulsa.  And, other big markets like Kansas City, St. Louis, and Atlanta have already surpassed QT's home city. 

People are often surprised to find out how many cities the Tulsa company has expanded to over the years, which started slowly.

"Getting from 200 to 300 took a long time," said QT's Jim Denny.

But, in just the past eight years, they have gone from 400 to 500.

"We have our 500th store opening on May 15th in Broken Arrow, so it will be here in Tulsa.  So, it will be really nice to have that here," said QT's Jim Denny.

One of QuikTrip's secrets is its willingness to adapt.  When it began a focus on gasoline, they found that many existing properties didn't have enough space for gas pumps.

"We have 496 stores now.  We have closed 420 stores in the history of the company," said Jim Denny.  "In just trying to reposition."

Some more trivia for you, one of the reasons, among others, that QT has expanded so much in the south is their other primary product:  cold fountain drinks.

"It does help you more because you're going to have a better season to sell more products in a hotter climate than you do in a colder climate, a little bit.  So it gives you an edge," said QT's Jim Denny.

They say northern markets are not off the table though.

"I'd say in the future, we'll be looking at new markets, but I'm not sure where they're going to be and I don't know the timeline on that," said QT's Jim Denny.

The most frequently asked question is why aren't there any QuikTrips in Oklahoma City?  The answer is that early on, founder Chester Cadieux had a gentleman's agreement not to compete with a friend there.