In less than nine months since first announcing their plans, the Kwik Star gas station and convenience store has transformed the north end of the Perry Business Plaza into a hive of commercial bustle.
In order to celebrate the opening of the 762nd store, Kwik Star CEO Don Zietlow of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, Miss Iowa 2022 Bailey Hodson of Berwick, Iowa, and a host of Kwik Star corporate officers were joined by about 20 members of the team at the new Perry store for a ribbon cutting.
At 88, Zietlow has seen the full extent of the company’s growth, from the first store in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 1965 to today’s opening in Perry, and the secret to the company’s success, he said, has been “the best people, clean stores with clean bathrooms, and the best service.”
Zietlow said the family-owned business is now largely in the hands of the second and third generation of Zietlows.
“They are committed to sharing 40% of the pretax profits (with co-workers, as the company does now) going forward,” he said, “and they are committed to taking our company forward for another 50 years.”
Scott Zietlow, Don’s grandson and the Kwik Trip Inc. project manager for store engineering, said the “multi-million dollar investment” in Perry will bring 25 to 30 new permanent jobs to town and an estimated payroll of about $500,000 annually.
“We pride ourselves in being an asset in the communities where we are located,” Zietlow said. “We take pride in giving back to the communities we serve with charitable donations and by partnering with local non-profits.”
To prove their charitable nature, two $1,000 donations were made prior to the ribbon cutting, with Perry Public Library Director Murphy and Perry Police Chief Eric Vaughn each accepting a check from Zwik Star.
“I think we share the same values,” Vaughn said on receiving the donation for the Perry Peace Officers Association.
Kwik Trip District Leader Mitch Schneider presided at the event, with brief remarks delivered by Hodson, Perry Mayor John Andorf and Perry Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynsi Pasutti. Half-a-dozen employees of the new Perry store also gave brief testimonials in regard to what they like best about working for Kwik Star.
Kwik Trip Inc. operates stores in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, with annual sales exceeding $5 billion. The Iowa and Illinois stores are called Kwik Star.