Kum & Go to Close Most Walk-Up Stores

The fuel-free stores no longer fit into the company's long-term expansion plans.

DES MOINES, Iowa — More than two years after Kum & Go LC opened its first walk-up urban convenience store, the retailer is closing four out of five of its fuel-free locations. Its original walk-up store, located at the corner of Seventh and Locust streets in Des Moines, will continue operations.

The two fuel-free stores in Denver close on Dec. 12 and the locations in Ames, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb., will close by Dec. 19, according to media reports.

Kum & Go opened the doors its first urban store in May 2020, as Convenience Store News reported. It targeted daily workers and downtown residents, offering foodservice items like pizza, sandwiches, salads and select high-end wine and liquor. It also stocked traditional c-store packaged snacks and household items like medicine and toiletries.

Less than two months later, Kum & Go announced the expansion of the store concept with plans to open a location in Denver's Riverfront Park.

The walk-up stores also focused on sustainability through initiatives like substituting reusable cloth bags for plastic grocery bags and offering compostable silverware and straws, recyclable cups and lids, and post-consumer recycled food packaging as part of a chainwide effort.

The store concept served as a "test for our organization," according to company spokesperson Taylor Boland.

"We've learned a lot from operating these fuel-less concepts. However, they no longer fit into our long-term plans for expansion," Boland said. "We will focus on our traditional stores in the area that can accommodate all of our fresh food offerings, as well as a selection of fuels."

The closing of most of its walk-up stores won't slow Kum & Go's expansion plans; in November, the c-store operator announced it will open its first set of Detroit-area stores in 2024, with plans to open more than 50 stores in the market over the next several years.

Established in Hampton, Iowa in 1959, Kum & Go is a fourth-generation, family-owned convenience store chain with more than 400 stores in 11 states.