January 17, 2021

A ‘Star’ on the east side

Kwik Star opens first Newton location in November

Many cars are still parked at 1910 First Ave. E. in Newton, but now it’s because Kwik Star is in town. Holding its grand opening Nov. 1, 2018, the convience store was a welcome addition on the east side of Newton.

Located at the former Lauterbach Buick GMC dealership, which moved down the road to 2900 First Ave. E. in 2016, Kwik Star announced it was opening a Newton location about a year later in August 2017. Positioned just off First Avenue/U.S. Highway 6, City of Newton Development Specialist Craig Armstrong said Kwik Star has an “excellent” location thanks in part to the 12,000 to 15,000 vehicles traveling up and down the route on a daily basis.

In addition to being a new business in Newton, Armstrong said Kwik Star — also known as Kwik Trip outside of Iowa — fills a niche market in town.

“It’s somewhat a of miniature grocery store,” he said. “It’s not just a convenience store. It’s much larger than typical convenience stores and offers a wide variety of product, as well as prepared foods. We’re looking forward to welcoming them into the community.”

Based out of La Crosse, Wisc., Kwik Trip/Kwik Star has opened roughly 650 total stores throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa since 1965; about 90 of which are stationed in Iowa. Kwik Trip/Kwik Star spokesperson Steve Wrobel said the first Hawkeye State-based store was opened in 1993.

Kwik Trip/Kwik Star stores have changed significantly since the company’s inception 53 years ago. Some of the very first shops, Wrobel said, did not come equipped with fuel pumps. These days, Kwik Trips and Kwik Stars have three facets to their identities.

“We’re a gas station, we’re a corner grocery store and a quick-serve restaurant, all in one,” Wrobel said.

Although he acknowledged Newton’s Kwik Star is probably not going to take over or replace other neighborhood grocery stores in town, Wrobel said the store will fulfill those in-between trips for more eggs, another loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, extra produce or fresh meat— delivered daily — when local families’ supplies are low.

Drawing comparisons to old fashioned, small-town corner stores, Wrobel said Kwik Trips and Kwik Stars value their customers and their relationships with the community above all else.

“We call our customers ‘guests,’ because we want to treat our customers as you would a guest in your home,” Wrobel said.

While no official word has been given, Armstrong said from the get go the company is interested in building another store somewhere else in newton.

“When they started expressing interest in the marketplace, they thought they wanted to build two stores and not just one, so that’s been going on almost from Day One,” Armstrong said.

For now, the first location is staying busy keeping up with the traffic on one of the busiest streets in Newton while enjoying its first year in town.

Reporter Christopher Braunschweig contributed to this story.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com