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Comedian Charlie Berens’ “Taj Mahal” of Kwik Trips opens soon in La Crosse, while adjacent store converts to Kwik Spirits experiment



A Generation 3 Kwik Trip — the company's largest — on June 28, 2022, is nearly complete on South Avenue, in La Crosse. (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

About two weeks away from the “Taj Mahal of Kwik Trips,” opening, as comedian Charlie Berens put it on La Crosse Talk PM.

But no, the new convenience store at Mormon Coulee Road and Ward Avenue, that’s also been rumored to be the “World’s Largest Kwik Trip,” will just be the La Crosse-based company’s largest version of its stores.

“I think Charlie gives us a lot of good publicity and anytime he says something, it certainly goes viral,” Kwik Trip communications director John McHugh told WIZM. “He’s a strong Kwik Trip supporter. If he says it, it becomes gospel in Wisconsin.”

What’s actually opening on July 14 is a Generation 3 store — the same size that opened a few months ago in Holmen, which was the first Gen. 3 in the Coulee Region.

“We’re actually quite surprised the popularity of this new story going up,” McHugh said. “We’ve had a lot of requests about, ‘What’s it all about? What makes it unique?’ And, obviously, as you well know, in La Crosse, what makes it unique is it’s almost right across the street from a current one. So, that’s just the nature of La Crosse, they support our Kwik Trip stores.”

Speaking of that Kwik Trip just up the road, McHugh said that will turn into a new experiment the company has been rolling out the past few months. 

“It’s going to become, what’s called, a Kwik Spirit store, in which they will specialize more in the tobacco products and our age restricted products, alcohol,” McHugh said, noting this would be the third Kwik Spirits within the company. “They’ll have a much larger selection of fine wines, alcohol. It’s a test concept for us. And we think it would work in what we would call our smaller footprint stores, especially because there’s large stores close by that would have all the food offering. So we’re gonna test it and see what happens.”

This South Avenue Kwik Trip in La Crosse, seen on June 28, 2022, will soon be converted into a Kwik Spirits store, selling things like wine and alcohol. (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

As for the “Taj Mahal,” McHugh noted it might not be the “World’s Largest” but it isn’t your typical Kwik Trip.

“When you go inside of it, when it’s finished, it feels differently,” he said. “It looks different on the inside. It feels different. So right away you go, ‘Wow, this is something different.’ 

“So it’s not simply just the increase of square footage. It’s the whole layout, the tile on the floor, on the walls. It looks different from a regular quick trip. So, I think that’s why there’s a lot of interest.”

McHugh said they won’t be doing anything special for La Crosse’s first-ever Generation 3 store, though Kwik Trip CEO Don Zietlow will be there, as he is with every grand opening.

And while Kwik Trip doesn’t have anything out of the ordinary in the works, Berens was asked on La Crosse Talk PM, would he go to the grand opening if Kwik Trip threw a bunch of money his way and he said, “I’ll do it for free, I’m going to be there anyway.”

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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1 Comment

  1. Sandy Denison

    June 30, 2022 at 10:11 am

    Looking forward to the new store, it’s the only place I will buy my butter, bacon,potatoes,onions, and love the chicken and burger…and of course the gas prices with my cards

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