officially launched its grand opening celebration last week, complete with a ribbon cutting, some cool give-aways and a visit from store executives.
The ribbon cutting/store unveiling (though the store had been open for about two weeks) included a visit from Don Zietlow, CEO of Kwik Trip, which is based in LaCrosse, Wis.
"The employees here will have a chance to have a piece of this location some day in the future," Zietlow said, outlining the company's "buy back" program, where, once the store is paid off, the portion paid for rent gets re-directed to the site's employees. It's a tactic that has made Zietlow one of the region's most admired executives, and made Kwik Trip one of the fastest-growing companies in its sector.
Brian Pappa, district manager, said the St. Michael location, near the Highway 241 and Interstate 94 interchange, was one the comany had looked at for a couple of years.
"We get a chance to drive around and get to know a community and an area as we select a site for our stores, and I must sincerely say there is something unique about St. Michael," Pappa said. "There's a nice feeling here."
Jerry Zachman praise the new, $3 million store, and hoped economic development tactics the city is working on would help "find some new neighbors" on commerical pads around the Kwik Trip site.
"We'd love to see this site fill up," he said with a smile.
Store No. 681, which employs about three dozen workers, interviewed more than 500 applicants, said site manager Shawna Heavirland.
"The mroe I work with this team, the more I know we've made the correct choices. These are just great people to work with," she said.
The majority of the team members hail from St. Michael, Albertville and Hanover. Assistant Site Manager jeff Skrypek is from Big Lake.
Skrypek introduced himself and the Kwik Trip "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" program by inviting St. Michael Fire Chief Steve Hosch to the podium. Kwik Trip presented the fire department with a check for $2,000, to help with equipment purchases.
Hosch was speechless, offering Skrypek a handshake and a quick "thanks."
"The fire department and the work they do was the first thing we thought of," Skrypek said. "We wanted to give them a hand, and this was a great way to do it."