Kum & Go to Open Its First-Ever Urban Store in Downtown Des Moines

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Kum & Go to Open Its First-Ever Urban Store in Downtown Des Moines

10/24/2019

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kum & Go LC is set to open its first-ever urban convenience store in downtown Des Moines.

The 3,000-square-foot store is located in the renovated Edna M. Griffin Building, a historic structure that was the scene of a major event in the city's civil rights history, reported Des Moines Register. It is slated to open in spring 2020. 

The new concept will serve as a test store for the retailer's new items, and, if the business model is successful, a prototype for additional stores in the 11 states the company serves, according to Tanner Krause, president of Kum & Go.

"Kum & Go is trying to take a lead on healthy items in a convenience setting and we think this concept and this audience will be a great testing ground for that change," he said, adding that the concept came from a team of seven employees who were tasked with finding new and innovative ways to grow the company.

The downtown store will be the first in an urban setting without a dedicated parking lot and the first not built on the company's standard lot, which averages 1.5 acres. The size will target Kum & Go customers who live and work downtown, but are unwilling or unable to travel to the nearest traditional store, according to Des Moines Register.

Kum & Go estimates there are 10,000 people living and working within a two-and-a-half minute walk to the new store at 319 Seventh St.

"There are great fans of Kum & Go that are unable to have their needs met during the majority of their workday due to our locations," Krause said. " ... We think this is a great opportunity to offer them a nice, safe, elevated retail experience."

The downtown store will offer pizza, sandwiches, salads and select high-end wine and liquor. It will also have traditional convenience store packaged snacks and household items like medicine and toiletries. It will not have roller grill hot dogs, the nacho cheese bar or craft beer growlers offered in Kum & Go's newer Marketplace concept

The store will also focus on sustainability. For starters, customers' purchases will be put in reusable cloth bags as opposed to plastic grocery bags. And, as part of a nationwide move at all of its stores, it will feature compostable silverware and straws, recyclable cups and lids, and post-consumer recycled food packaging. The change will reduce the amount of flood plastic used in the company's food operations by more than 90 percent, Krause said. 

The new store, already under construction, is part of a $12.4 million historic rehabilitation of one of the city's most prominent buildings, the Des Moines Griffin Building LLC.

Both Des Moines Griffin Building LLC and Kum & Go plan to pay homage to the building's namesake, Edna M. Griffin.

"The story of Edna Griffin is one that I hope more central Iowans know and can learn from. And it ties in to the type of company we're trying to develop or become from a diversity and inclusion perspective," Krause said. "I think her story is really inspiring and courageous."

Des Moines-based Kum & Go has nearly 400 stores in 11 states: Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming. It is No. 24 on the 2019 Convenience Store News Top 100 report.