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NO. 5 LARGE | Kwik Trip adapts, keeps staff at the center of its success

NO. 5 LARGE | Kwik Trip adapts, keeps staff at the center of its success

From the Shining stars: Meet the Madison area's Top Workplaces series

The ability of Kwik Trip employees to manage change was important to the convenience store chain’s success during the past year, as it expanded, rolled out new product offerings and dealt with COVID-19.

“They are very good at doing things that seem out of place at first, but actually turn out really well,” said one employee. “Selling hot food, starting deep-fried chicken, growing the company. With all the companies that are going under these last few years I feel confident that Kwik Trip is not going to be one of them and it is nice not having to worry about losing my job because the company stopped growing or grew too fast.”

Company spokesman Dave Niemi said Kwik Trip — which has 770 stores including 73 in the Madison area — began providing more ready-made foods to serve people who were largely homebound and unable to access restaurants because of the virus.

“We’re so adaptable,” Niemi said of Kwik Trip and its employees, who did virtual training for new product rollouts. “We try to equip them with enough information so that they feel comfortable and competent and can hit the ground running when that product gets out.”

Employees who worked during the pandemic months of spring 2020 through the summer also received a $1 an hour added to their hourly wage, and store managers received bonuses.

“If some of our co-workers felt, ‘I don’t want to be in the store right now,’ they’re able to take a leave,” said Niemi, adding that the chain seeks employees who are respectful and giving. “Nobody is going to lose a job over doing what they believe is right.”

Employees benefit from a plan earmarking 40% of the company’s pre-tax profits to be shared in an annual cash bonus and extra 401(k) contributions. Kwik Trip also provides a minimum 3% contribution to 401(k) plans for all workers, regardless of whether they make their own contribution.

Additionally, the chain has created regional health clinics in Middleton, La Crosse and Appleton to address wellness issues, provide preventive care and treat minor health problems for a $20 charge.

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