by Max Brantley
In this economy, new convenience store clerk jobs are not to be sneered at, with real unemployment around 16 percent. Of course, new jobs one place might produce pressure on a lesser c-store competitor. People going to buy only so many Big Gulps and honey buns. They might harm the real-life Little Rock versions of:
WEST DES MOINES, IOWA — (July 21, 2011) — Today, Kum & Go President and CEO Kyle J. Krause announced a major economic investment in Central Arkansas. Mr. Krause shared that his company will be investing $70-80 million in the next five years and creating approximately 150 new jobs by the end of 2012. A respected retailer, Kum & Go is the fifth largest privately-held, company-operated convenience store chain in the United States. The family-owned company began in 1959, in Hampton, Iowa, and has grown to more than 400 convenience stores in 11 states (including Arkansas). Kum & Go has received numerous philanthropic awards and shares 10 percent of its profits with charitable and educational causes each year.
According to Mr. Krause, Central Arkansas was selected from among a highly competitive group of 85 metropolitan statistical areas in 16 states.
“Two things stood out to our senior management about Central Arkansas. First, there is a strong sense of family and core values that clearly resonates throughout the area. This is extremely important to us, since Kum & Go is a family-owned business and we are actively involved in the communities that we do business. Second, Central Arkansas is committed to future growth. Whenever we visited Central Arkansas, it was clear that local residents, business leaders and elected officials were dedicated to attracting quality companies and creating new jobs,” said Mr. Krause.
Kum & Go plans to break ground in August and September 2011 on three new Central Arkansas stores. The locations include: 5306 JFK in North Little Rock; Chicot and Baseline in Little Rock; and Pine & Campground in Cabot. Kum & Go anticipates having its first grand-opening event in the fourth quarter of 2011. Within the next five years, Kum & Go will have 20-25 stores in Central Arkansas.
Kum & Go is no stranger to the state. The company first came to Arkansas after acquiring a handful of stores in 1998. Now, Kum & Go has 25 locations in Arkansas that employ more than 260 associates in eight counties.
Earlier this year, Kum & Go received the prestigious “2011 Hussmann-Trane Energy Efficiency Award.” It was the first-ever convenience store chain to be honored with this national award. Previous retail winners include Whole Foods and Kroger’s.
Another distinguishing feature of Kum & Go is the company’s strong emphasis on “going green” by incorporating sustainable features into its store designs. Other Kum & Go stores utilizing this design scheme have received Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification.
The focus on sustainability begins at construction and continues through the store’s daily operations. Materials used for the construction will be sustainable, coming from local companies whenever possible.
Environmental stewardship and sustainability efforts are important drivers at Kum & Go according to Mr. Krause. “We have a duty to be environmentally responsible. It is a serious responsibility that continually benefits our customers and the communities in which we do business.”
Kum & Go stores also feature another green element: Solatube skylights. Solatube skylights provide natural light that decrease the energy used in overhead lighting. In addition, advanced refrigeration systems are installed, increasing energy efficiency through improved technology and LED lighting in the coolers. Kum & Go stores are on an automated system that will regulate energy use and lighting systems in order to create a more energy efficient store.