A new Kwik Trip is still going up at Proctor’s doorstep on Boundary Avenue.
While the sprawling new convenience store has yet to open, Duluth businessmen Dave Goldberg and Mike Ives — doing business as Zenith Terrace Acquisition LLC — already have delivered on their pledge to the growing chain that they would clear the immediate environs of direct competitors by buying out a neighboring Mobil gas station and convenience store that also was home to Stokke’s Meat Market.
“That’s a condition of the sale to Kwik Trip,” Goldberg said, explaining that it was part of a deal brokered to assemble the property needed for its latest new station/store.
“That’s not unusual,” he said, noting that Kwik Trip made the same requirement when it built a new station on Arrowhead Road.
Shain Stokke, former owner of the Mobil station and Stokke’s, closed his doors at the beginning of July.
Zenith Terrace Acquisition LLC has since set to work on the site, removing pumps, fuel tanks and the station’s metal canopy.
Goldberg said the remaining 3,100-square-foot structure could be remodeled to suit the wishes of a future tenant. The site is large enough that he believes it could accommodate an additional 2,500- to 3,000-square-foot building.
Goldberg speculated that the property at the busy corner of U.S. Highway 2 and Boundary Avenue could prove an attractive location for a fast food operation, a coffee shop and/or other retail operations.
Goldberg and Ives are heavily invested in the neighborhood as owners of the Zenith Terrace Manufactured Home Community, a nearby AmericInn and a self-storage business that flanks their latest acquisition — the Stokke’s Meat Market site.
As for the new Kwik Trip, Goldberg predicts it will be well received by the 1,200 people or so who call Zenith Terrace home, because it will improve their access to food staples.
While Shain Stokke initially was a vocal opponent of the zoning change Kwik Trip needed to build its new store on Boundary Avenue, once the way was clear for the project to proceed, he apparently warmed to the idea of selling to the agents of a former adversary.
This decision to sell came as no surprise to Goldberg, who said: “Obviously the one that would be impacted the most was the Mobil operator and the meat market, because they would face formidable competition from Kwik Trip.”
Goldberg said he didn’t attempt to lowball the Stokkes, saying: “We made it very possible for them to exit with a good financial settlement.”
“They got treated very well. They basically probably got more in the price from us than they would have got on the open market,” he said.
Stokke continues to operate station/stores in Adolph and Lakewood.
Reflecting on the closure and sale of his Bayview Heights operation back in July, Stokke told the News Tribune: “I can’t rip Kwik Trip. They’re an incredible operation. But I can’t fight over pennies with them either.”