Wisconsin’s largest convenience store company is bringing uniformity to buying gas.
Already common at its stores in urban areas, Kwik Trip has announced that beginning Jan. 3, customers at all of its nearly 800 stores will need to pay at the pump or prepay for their gas inside.
The La Crosse-based company, which operates in four states, said the move is designed to prevent drive-offs and improve customer service.
“We are moving to prepay to improve our guest service,” said David Niemi, a company spokesman. “Our co-workers spend so much time watching the fuel islands for drive offs, they can’t focus solely on the guests in the stores.”
The only exception to the new rule will be for side-diesel islands, used primarily by large trucks. Niemi said those fueling positions will continue to allow customers to pay inside the store after they have fueled if they choose.
At many of its stores, Kwik Trip has long allowed its customers to pump their fuel and then pay, giving customers a chance to shop for grocery and other convenience items, which includes a wide array of hot and cold sandwiches, fried chicken, salads, bakery items and coffee. Under the new rules, customers will need to either pay at the pump and then come into the store, shop and make a second transaction or shop inside and then prepay for gas along with other purchases.
But for many of Kwik Trip’s customers in and around Madison, there will be no noticeable change, since it has required prepayment inside or at the pump at many of its Dane County stores for years.
In 2017, Kwik Trip purchased 23 Madison-area PDQ stores and 11 more elsewhere in the state, and required prepayment at most of those locations. In 2020, Kwik Trip purchased 36 stores in Wisconsin and northern Illinois from Madison-based Stop-N-Go, and instituted similar payment requirements.
Kwik Trip was founded in 1965 in Eau Claire and opened its first store in La Crosse in 1971 followed by a corporate headquarters in 1973. The company, which operates as Kwik Star in Iowa, has more than 28,000 employees in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and northern Illinois. It has 793 stores and a sprawling production and distribution campus in La Crosse that supplies its stores with inventory.
Photos: Take a sneak peek inside Kwik Trip's massive food production lines
A forensic anthropologist with the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office testified earlier in the day that over 50 fragments of cranial bone, teeth and a dental cap were recovered from the Halderson family fireplace.