One of the area’s fastest growing convenience stores welcomed its first Princeton gas and baked goods customers during an early morning grand opening Thursday, Jan. 10.

Eager Kwik Trip customers walked through the doors at 707 Northland Drive shortly after 5 a.m., purchasing coffee, doughnuts, and other baked goods as well as fuel.

The store’s official ribbon-cutting has been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 11 a.m.

Last year, Kwik Trip purchased 4.4 acres south of the Caribou Coffee store on the city’s south side and began work on the 7,243-square-foot convenience store and gas station.

The store site also includes a 3,047-square-foot car wash.

“We been working toward this date for about five months,” store manager Taryn Lahr said.

About six months prior to a store’s opening, Kwik Trip starts the hiring process to staff a location.

A store engineering team started working on the Princeton location last July, she said.

“We didn’t get access to the store until the Friday before our opening,” Lahr said last week.

Shelf-stocking, cleaning after construction and tagging items in the store all occurred the Friday to Thursday before the opening, she explained.

“Basically, we lived at the store prior to the opening,” Lahr said. “For me, seeing the line outside the store this morning we opened was the most exciting thing.”

The Princeton Kwik Trip employs 32 people working three shifts around the clock, Lahr said.

“We are hoping to hire another 10 employees,” she said. “There are a lot of great people in Princeton. We didn’t have any trouble with our hiring process.”

All of the local Kwik Trip’s bakery offerings, namely bars and doughnuts, are frosted in-store, Lahr said. “We also have hot soup out every day, and a wide variety of hot food.”

Lahr said she’s talked to a number of business in the community that are open around the clock, and they are excited to have a 24/7 option for food nearby.

Kwik Trip Inc. owns and operates more than 600 retail convenience stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

Kwik Trip was founded in 1965 and opened its first store in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Company stores receive daily deliveries of fresh baked goods, dairy products, soups, salads, fruit, produce, sandwiches and sell grocery products, general merchandise, gasoline and related petroleum products.

To supply its stores with baked goods and other foods, Kwik Trip operates a 60,000-square-foot commissary and research facility at its headquarters in southwestern Wisconsin.

The company makes, ships and sells 80 percent of its own branded products.

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