Circle K to Grow Wisconsin Footprint by 60 Stores

It will focus first on expanding in areas where it already operates.
Angela Hanson
The view of a Circle K convenience store from the forecourt

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Circle K is planning a significant expansion in Wisconsin, where it will open 60 convenience stores over the next few years. The retailer already has approximately 30 c-stores in the state, primarily concentrated in the northwest.

This investment in Wisconsin is part of a larger effort to open 500 new Circle K stores worldwide, mostly in North America, and will create around 1,200 jobs, company officials said during a Jan. 26 ribbon-cutting ceremony at its third Circle K store in the Green Bay area.

[Read more: Circle K Teams Up With Candy Brand to Bring Sweet Treats to Consumers]

These future Circle K stores also represent more than 10% of the new facilities the company plans to open in the next five years, reported Wisconsin Public Radio.

Mark Kestnbaum, vice president of real estate for Circle K, told the news outlet that the company plans to initially expand in the areas where it already operates stores. It is also considering locations in central and southern Wisconsin.

"We're taking a look at the entire state, and we have certain areas that we're very excited about," Kestnbaum said. "Some of them are a little bit secret, but we're very excited about Green Bay [and] Appleton, especially."

Circle K stores may eventually open in Milwaukee, but the retailer will first focus on establishing a strong operations track record, according to Kestnbaum.

"That means that we have stores that are part of a broader network," he said. "More to come on the potential of Milwaukee."

[Read more: Circle K Rewards Program Gains Steam]

As it grows in the state, Circle K will compete with La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc., which it reportedly welcomes.

"We're very happy to be in the same conversation as Kwik Trip here in Wisconsin," said Gary Brant, business unit vice president for Circle K. "They do a fantastic job. We just feel we've got a different offer and a different opportunity with our brand that we can bring to our customers."

Circle K is the global banner of Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., which operates in 25 countries and territories, with more than 14,400 stores, of which 10,800 offer road transportation with fuel. 

With its well-known Couche-Tard and Circle K banners, Couche-Tard is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the United States and a leader in the convenience store industry and road transportation fuel retail in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics and Ireland. It also has an important presence in Poland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Approximately 128,000 people are employed throughout its network.

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