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A customer pumps gas at Kwik Trip in Janesville in a March 2020 Gazette file photo. Kwik Trip announced it plans to acquire all 36 convenience stores now owned and operated by Stop-N-Go, one of Kwik Trip's main competitors in southern Wisconsin.

JANESVILLE

Kwik Trip plans to review each of the 36 Stop-N-Go convenience stores the company announced acquiring, but it’s not yet clear if the four Stop-N-Go stores in Janesville would remain Stop-N-Go or become rebranded as Kwik Trip.

Wisconsin convenience store giant Kwik Trip announced Wednesday an agreement to acquire the assets of Madison-based competitor Stop-N-Go, including stores in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, according to a Kwik Trip news release.

Financial details of the acquisition haven’t been made public, but Kwik Trip plans to add Stop-N-Go’s locations to Kwik Trip’s own stable of 700 stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The acquisition includes the four Janesville Stop-N-Go locations at 714 Center Ave., 1804 E. Milwaukee St., 3515 E. Milwaukee St., and 1604 E. Racine St.

According to the release, the sale could close in December.

Kwik Trip has made headlines for aggressive growth linked, in part, to its forays into fresh, cooked and prepackaged foods. Kwik Trip spokesman John McHugh said Kwik Trip has seen increased growth in fresh, prepackaged food sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend he said comes as shoppers seek more convenience to spend and less time shopping in crowds.

McHugh said Kwik Trip analysts believe such acquisitions will be more commonplace in the future as convenience store chains such as Kwik Trip, which produces and packages a large share of its own fresh food, continue to grow larger, more “vertically integrated,” and less reliant on increasingly slim revenues from gas and tobacco sales.

Kwik Trip’s engineering department now plans a “store-by-store” review of each Stop-N-Go. McHugh said each of Stop-N-Go store’s size and operations might determine which stores remain Stop-N-Go and which could be rebranded as Kwik Trip.

“There’s a good percentage of the Stop-N-Go stores that would remain Stop-N-Go,” McHugh said, explaining that some of Stop-N-Go stores are about 2,400 square feet, a size he said is “a pretty small footprint” to refit as a Kwik Trip store.

Stop-N-Go CEO and owner Andrew Bowman said it was “important” for Stop-N-Go to find a buyer that would continue the Stop-N-Go namesake at existing locations.

Kwik Trip is shifting toward bigger format stores as it moves into a wave of store expansions company officials are calling “generation-III” developments. Kwik Trip has four stores in Janesville, but the company plans to build a fifth, larger-format store next year just west of the Target store along Humes Road.

If Kwik Trip rebrands all the Janesville Stop-N-Go stores, Janesville could find itself with nine Kwik Trip locations by this time next year. But it’s possible that smaller Stop-N-Go stores, such as the 2,600-square-foot store at 1804 E. Milwaukee St., would remain branded as Stop-N-Go, McHugh indicated.

He said Kwik Trip is working to retain current Stop-N-Go employees, and he said Kwik Trip might even boost employment at some Stop-N-Go locations if those locations would be refitted to sell some of Kwik Trip’s fresh foods.

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