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State awards Kwik Trip $15 million in tax credits for $151 million expansion, though that may not happen in La Crosse



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)

Kwik Trip confirmed Monday on La Crosse Talk PM of a $151 million expansion that could create over 500 jobs and receive $15 million in Wisconsin tax credits, but it sounds as though a lot of that won’t happen in the city of La Crosse.

La Crosse Talk PM airs weekdays at 5:06 p.m. Listen on the WIZM app, online here, or on 92.3 FM / 1410 AM / 106.7 FM (north of Onalaska). Find all the podcasts here or subscribe to La Crosse Talk PM wherever you get your podcasts.

Kwik Trip’s Ben Leibl joins La Crosse Talk PM at the 18-minute mark.

Ben Leibl, public relations with La Crosse-based Kwik Trip, joined (18:00) provided some details to the project that includes the October purchase of $10 million in office space in Onalaska but a greater portion of the expansion could happen elsewhere.

“It’s going to be a larger part of growth across the state of Wisconsin, not necessarily just in La Crosse,” Leibl said. “With more stores every year, we need to expand our dairy, our bakery, our commissary. And so that just looks different for what we can do, not only in La Crosse, but also across the state, as well. 

“There’s only so much that we can do out of La Crosse to make sure that all of our stores have the needs that they have to make sure the products are in the store and in the guests’ hands.

Kwik Trip is getting assistance from the state for the expansion thanks to a government project through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), called the Enterprise Zone.

Because Kwik Trip has expanded so rapidly WEDC amended its qualifications for tax credits and rewarded Kwik Trip another $15 million.

“It’s based on Kwik Trip having invested $325 million into our existing La Crosse operations and also that’s tied to over 1,700 tax credit-eligible jobs since 2017,” Leibl said of the evolving deal.

Leibl was unsure of what kind of jobs were eligible for the tax credits but according to a WEDC news release, they would be full-time jobs. Since the 2017 deal, “Kwik Trip has gone from 4,342 “eligible employees” to 12,442 — an increase of 8,100.

What exactly those jobs might be, or where, Leibl wouldn’t say at this point.

“So, I can’t, unfortunately, tell you right now where it’s going to happen outside of La Crosse,” he said. “But, the more that we grow, certainly the needs are there for us to get more and more product to our guests statewide. With us being as far north as Hudson, Eagle River, up there, all the way down to Beloit, Janesville, all the way over to Sheboygan — we’re basically covering every corner of the state.”

In total, Kwik Trip would be eligible for $41 million in state tax credits if it hit investment and job marks.

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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