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Kwik Trip buying out competitor in Wisconsin

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Kwik Trip Inc. has agreed to buy 34 PDQ convenience stores in Wisconsin, a move that will push Kwik Trip's overall store count to about 600.

La Crosse-based Kwik Trip said Wednesday that it has signed an agreement to acquire the assets of employee-owned PDQ Food Stores for an undisclosed price.

The purchase will give Kwik Trip nine more stores in southeastern Wisconsin and 23 more in the Madison area, along with single stores in Menasha and North Fond du Lac.

Kwik Trip expects to close the deal in October. It is subject to approval by PDQ employees.

Kwik Trip will operate the new locations under the PDQ name until it remodels them, a process expected to be finished in mid-2018.

The company probably will spend $30 million to $40 million on the remodeling effort, spokesman John McHugh said.

Known as a leader in its industry, Kwik Trip has grown steadily in the past three decades but has stepped up its expansion in recent years. With the PDQ acquisition, Kwik Trip will have added more than 200 stores since 2013.

The company operates as Kwik Trip in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and as Kwik Star in Iowa. The company has 459 Kwik Trip stores, 62 Kwik Star stores, 28 Tobacco Outlet Plus and 17 Tobacco Outlet Plus Grocery stores.

Kwik Trip employs more than 19,000 people and expects to add another 1,000 with the PDQ purchase. Six years ago, Kwik Trip had about 10,000 employees.

PDQ dates to 1949 but wasn't branded with its current name — it stands for "pretty darn quick" — until 1962. The Jacobsen family owned the chain until 2009, when it was sold to employees.

As of last November, Kwik Trip was the country's 15th largest convenience store chain, according to Convenience Store News.

Kwik Trip competes head-to-head with Holiday Stationstores in several Northland communities; earlier this month Canadian convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard announced that it has agreed to purchase the Minnesota-based, 522-store Holiday chain.