No matter where you are in Oklahoma, there's a good chance of a QuikTrip nearby. With a wide selection of grab-and-go snacks (we're looking at you Cheesy Pepperjack Taquitos), it's hard to imagine a life without the convenience store. Why Not Oklahoma is Oklahoma-centric, and we are proud of the companies that have worked so hard to put that state on the map. That's why we wanted to pay homage to the king of convenience.
From Humble Beginnings to Oklahoma Royalty
The initial idea for QuikTrip started in 1957 after Burt Holmes visited Dallas and saw how 7-Eleven stores were thriving. To provide even more convenience to his customers, Holmes developed the idea of "bantam stores" that would offer drive-in groceries to his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. One year later, Holmes convinced a former classmate, Chester Cadieux, to invest in the store – ultimately leading to the first QuikTrip opening on September 25, 1958.
While it's hard to imagine a QuikTrip store struggling, the first four years of operation were a challenge; however, by 1962, the company began achieving a positive net worth. At the end of the 1961-62 fiscal year, the company established eight unique stores and hit a total sales figure of $1.090.008. This momentum continued into the following five years, seeing the company operating 43 stores, employing 167 individuals, and hitting an annual sales figure of $5.5 million.
Expansion Efforts Spread QuikTrip to Surrounding States
Drifting away from the drive-in groceries model, QuikTrip began eliminating "slow-moving" merchandise in 1971, including canned vegetables. To counteract this loss, the company started investing in modern convenience store options, expanding its offerings to include gasoline, soda, coffee, beer, cigarettes, and candy. This new model proved effective, allowing the founders to open stores in Iowa and Missouri by 1974.
By 1976, QuikTrip adopted an "open 24 hours" policy company-wide. This provided a strategic advantage over competitors that had irregular hours. The company hired Wyatt Phillips, a marketing consultant from Atlanta, Georgia, who created the now iconic QT logo in the same year. With this logo, the growing convenience store giant began to be referred to by its common name, "QT," by customers.
A New Idea Leads to Further Growth
1977 was a time of experimentation for QuikTrip as the company introduced a revolutionary new idea of adopting a fast-food model while allowing customers to serve themselves. This idea continued to evolve with the development of the Quik'n Tasty distribution warehouse in Belton, Missouri. An idea that would continue to evolve until 2005 when QuikTrip opened the QT Commissary and Bakery in its hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In 2013, QuikTrip further expanded this model by introducing fresh, made-to-order foods by adding QT Kitchens’ full-service counters. This new addition to the product offerings included hot sandwiches and the grab-and-go pizza options that have become a staple for many Oklahomans. By 2017, this growth was expanded even further with the release of a mobile app that allowed customers to order food in advance to have it ready when they arrived at the store.
In 2021, the QuikTrip Corporation has a value of over $11 billion, spanning 850 stores in 11 states nationwide. This growth has not only made the company the "king of convenience," but it also allows them to give back up to 5% of its net profits to assist charitable organizations in the community.
A "Quik" History of Notable Achievements
In 2021, QuikTrip now operates over 900 unique stores in many different states, including Oklahoma, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Louisiana. While this in and of itself is an impressive achievement, it isn't the only accolade that the company has achieved. Some other notable achievements include:
- 1987 – Convenience Store News makes Chester Cadieux the first Hall of Fame inductee.
- 1991 – QuikTrip announces it would unconditionally guarantee its gasoline to improve customer perception.
- 2002 – Chet Cadieux, son of founder Chester Cadieux, takes over role as QuikTrip president.
- 2008 – QuikTrip celebrates 50 years by hosting a festival for employees and customers in Tulsa with local musicians Leon Russell and Hanson.
- 2010 – Gen 3 stores are unveiled in Tulsa, Oklahoma – becoming the modern format for QuikTrip locations.
- 2015 – QuikTrip partners with Folds of Honor to sponsor the FOHQT500 NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
- 2017 – QuikTrip is named on Fortune 500's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" for the 15th consecutive year.