MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – A plan to bring another Kwik Trip into town isn’t making everybody happy.
On Monday night, the Menasha common council approved two resolutions that will pave the way for developers to start building a new Kwik Trip on the property that used to house Bubba’s Pub on Racine Road.
The resolutions approved an intergovernmental boundary agreement between the city of Menasha and the village of Fox Crossing that swaps some land between the two municipalities.
One of the swaps is the Bubba’s Pub property which had previously been partly in Menasha and partly in Fox Crossing. The new resolution makes the entire property part of Menasha which will allow Kwik Trip to proceed with the project.
There are already two other Kwik Trip locations in Menasha.
Fox Crossing officials must approve the intergovernmental boundary agreement next week for it to become official.
Not everybody is happy that Kwik Trip is coming to town, especially the business that would be its next-door neighbor.
“We’re your local business and Kwik Trip is much larger with over 800 stores,” said Virender Singh who is the vice president of a Citgo right next to what is going to be Kwik Trip’s new location. “We can’t compete.”
Singh said his family has owned this Citgo for 20 years and has stayed in business by building strong relationships with a loyal customer base. He runs the business with his father and his uncle.
He said his Citgo could lose 50 percent of their business if Kwik Trip moves in next to them.
“For 20 years, we’ve been so loyal and why would they (the city of Menasha) do that to a local business (bring in a Kwik Trip next door),” said Singh.
On Monday evening, the Menasha common council held a public hearing to discuss the resolutions. Singh and about 20 family members and friends attended as well as members of the community.
Singh and his family had sued the city for not providing proper notice of the boundary agreement which is why the city held the public hearing on Monday night.
“I worry about what Kwik Trip is going to do with the amount of traffic it’s going to bring coming off the expressway,” said Lance who lives close to Citgo and the future Kwik Trip location. “I came here because it’s quiet and having a gas station that’s open all night (is going to make this area much less quiet). Being a small business owner (myself) it’s tough times for us.”
“Kwik Trip is family oriented and family-owned, a four-generation company,” said Lori who is a Kwik Trip employee. “I’ve been there for 28 years, I never thought that I’d work for a gas station but now I would never go anywhere else.”
A Local Five News reporter tracked down Lori after the meeting asking her if she had additional comments beyond what she had said during the public hearing. She declined to comment further and deferred questions to Kwik Trip’s corporate communications department. A Local Five News reporter had contacted Kwik Trip multiple times throughout the day for comment, but never got a call back.
“The council has to do what is best for the community not an individual business,” said another member of the community Steve Krueger. “You can’t call dibs on an area because your business is there.”
Another Menasha resident named Devon Renner also attended the meeting. He had posted on a Reddit forum about the situation and his post received over 52,000 views.
“Competition is the cornerstone of capitalism, the customers will decide who stays in and who stays out,” said Renner.
Several people opposed to Kwik Trip moving in became frustrated during public comment because they felt like the common council was not listening to them and that they had already made up their minds.
About 25 people walked out of the meeting right after the public comment section and well before the common council voted on the resolutions.
“How does building a Kwik Trip that has over 800 stores next to a single store gas station that will then probably close, promote development,” said Singh.
Common council president Stan Sevenich had originally introduced the resolutions. He was pleased that they passed and says he is looking forward to welcoming Kwik Trip into town.
He also noted that a new Kwik Trip would mean additional employment opportunities for the community.
“Kwik Trip is a local company, they are here in Wisconsin, people love their Kwik Trips and that’s been evident in Menasha with them building their third one,” said Sevenich.