A question about Kwik Trip
Company wants presence in West Bend

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

Oct. 22, 2014

A truck pulls around the fueling stations Tuesday afternoon at the Kwik Trip on Highway 60 in Slinger. The Kwik Trip in Slinger is the nearest to West Bend. 
John Ehlke/Daily News 

WEST BEND - Kwik Trip has tried to open a store in West Bend for several years, without success, and many residents wonder why.

Hans Zietlow, director of real estate for Kwik Trip, said the company wanted to open a West Bend store in 1999 and tried buying a couple of lots, but they were bought by existing gas station operators.

He said they tried locations near Menards, Walmart and Home Depot.

“We’ve tried a couple of places,” Zietlow said. “Hopefully we won’t stop trying. There’s nothing we’re looking at now, but we want to be in West Bend.”

West Bend Administrator T.J. Justice said Kwik Trip was interested in the Walgreens site at 1921 S. Main St. about 10 years ago and that was the last serious inquiry. He said it never got to the Plan Commission, but there were staff discussions.

“The site suited Kwik Trip,” Justice said. “For whatever reason, it didn’t work out.”

Former West Bend Mayor Kristine Deiss said she had some requests from residents about a Kwik Trip coming when she was mayor from mid-2008 to April 2011, and contacted Kwik Trip.

“It wasn’t successful because other gas stations were not open to the idea,” Deiss said she was told by Kwik Trip at the time.

“Competition is good for the marketplace,” Deiss said.

Zietlow said the biggest problem they’re seeing, not just in West Bend, is gas station owners will lobby against them.

“It’s not entirely welcoming to come in,” Zietlow said.

Kwik Trip has stores in Slinger, Hartford and Germantown, and is building one in Saukville. He said they were denied in Jackson. In Menomonee Falls, a large group of convenience store operators put together a petition.

“These counties north of Milwaukee are tougher to get into,” Zietlow said. “It’s not special to Kwik Trip.”

While Zietlow said he understands, Kwik Trip won’t apologize for getting better. He said Kwik Trip is a Wisconsin-based, family owned company that can produce healthy products that are fresher and cheaper.

Kwik Trip builds about 35 stores a year, so what would it take for Kwik Trip to build a convenience store and gas station in West Bend?

Zietlow said they have to find the right site where zoning would allow them and put a plan together. Then they would go to city staff and Common Council for approval.

“We’d like to be in town. The biggest hurdle is getting the property and approvals,” Zietlow said.

Justice said they are communicating with Kwik Trip again and will ask if they would consider additional sites.

“We’ll see if they have an appetite for West Bend,” Justice said.

Zietlow said Economic Development Washington County might have ideas and they would be happy to get them.

“We’d sure love to be there,” Zietlow said. “Once we get a site in West Bend, once everyone sees and knows who we are, it will be a lot easier.”