Kwik Trip to acquire PDQs 34 stores in state
Fate of New Berlin stores under construction murky; mayor optimistic

By Dave Fidlin - Special to The Freeman

July 20, 2017

The PDQ under construction on Moorland Road in New Berlin.
Submitted photo

NEW BERLIN The growing Kwik Trip gas and convenience store chain is about to get larger, and officials in New Berlin are hoping they are along for the ride.

La Crosse-based Kwik Trip Inc. on Wednesday announced it was acquiring PDQ, its smaller Middleton-based rival. But the imminent transaction leaves uncertainty for the future of two PDQ stores in the works in New Berlin.

PDQ, which has a similar business model to Kwik Trip, has stores in various stages of development in the city.

A proposed store at 2101 S. Moorland Road has been under construction and is about 95 percent complete, Mayor Dave Ament said. The city this spring issued a conditional- use permit for the second location at 15055 W. National Ave.

In a news release announcing the acquisition, Kwik Trip said it was purchasing the 34 PDQ stores operating in the Madison and Milwaukee areas. The release did not mention the status of stores under construction or slated for development, including the New Berlin sites.

Reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, Kwik Trip spokesman Steven Wrobel said he did not have a ready answer.

Thats a good question, Wrobel said. I dont have the answer to that.

A call for comment to PDQs spokesman, Chief Financial Officer Michael Arnold, was not returned before deadline.

But Ament said he was optimistic that plans for the PDQ stores will proceed as planned.

Wed been hearing rumors of this happening, so it didnt come as a complete surprise to us, Ament said. Right now, based on what weve been hearing, the plans are going to move forward.

There are a number of moving pieces at play, Ament said, and further details specific to the New Berlin locations could surface in the weeks and months ahead.

Its very early in the acquisition, he said. Im thinking the timeline (for building completion and store opening) might change.

The National Avenue PDQ site is tied to a series of efforts the city is undertaking, including an open-air shelter for the New Berlin Farmers Market and an outdoor plaza on the corner of Michelle Witmer Drive and Library Lane.

Regardless of what transpires in the mix of the PDQ-Kwik Trip transaction, Ament said the farmers market and outdoor plaza will proceed as planned this fall.

According to its website, PDQ has roots going back to 1948. Founder Sam Jacobson opened a store under the name Tri Dairy. A year later, it was renamed PDQ and other stores sprouted up over time.

Although the convenience store chain is most prevalent near its home base in the Madison area, PDQ has long had an established presence in the Waukesha area. It has two stores in Waukesha, one in the Town of Brookfield, one in Delafield and one in Sussex.

Wrobel said the Southeastern Wisconsin stores will compliment the Kwik Trip stores already in operation. The company was especially interested in the large Madison fleet, he said, since Kwik Trip is less established in that market.

This just makes a lot of sense, Wrobel said. PDQ is a good company, and this is a great opportunity for us.

No details about the cost of the acquisition have been released.

Kwik Trip owner Mark Zietlow said he anticipates adding more than 1,000 jobs with the PDQ acquisition and has plans to remodel the stores. The PDQ stores will keep their identity until mid-2018 when they will be revamped and renamed.

The Kwik Trip chain has 570 stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa and employs more than 19,000 people.

Also contributing: The Associated Press