QuikTrip Is in No Rush to Judgment

Retail Chain Calls 60- to 90-Day Hiatus After Selecting 5 Agencies
DALLAS-It may not take long to get a tank of gas at QuikTrip, but there will be no express lane for agencies vying for the chain’s regional $6 million ad account.
Five undisclosed agencies-one from each of QuikTrip’s key markets, including Tulsa, Okla., and Atlanta-were chosen by officials with the privately held company.
A representative for the Tulsa-based retailer said the client is pulling back for the next 60 to 90 days to evaluate all of its options, including the choice of possibly abandoning the hunt, before inviting the five shops for presentations later this summer.
Each of the finalists has been told of the impending lull in the review. After the two- to three-month client introspection, the contending agencies could be given a spec assignment, according to sources.
All the agencies were chosen based on geographic presence and retail experience, particularly in the client’s preferred vehicle of radio.
The shops hail from Tulsa, St. Louis, Atlanta, Kansas City and Dallas. The chain is planning a major expansion in 1999 into the Dallas market, where it will butt heads with the larger 7-11 stores owned and operated by Dallas-based Southland.
Sources said QuikTrip sent questionnaires to some 20 shops in its core markets that encompass 325 stores.
This would be QuikTrip’s first agency in “a long time,” according to the company representative. The spokesman noted that no other shops will be allowed into the review.
Sources said issues apparently up for discussion include whether creative-only assignments would eventually be doled out, or if the media portion would be bundled with the account.
QuikTrip chief executive officer Chester Cadieux has received high marks for the operation of the chain he co-founded in 1958.
According to Forbes, QuikTrip earned $32 million in income on $2 billion in sales in 1998, and more than doubles the amount of average annual merchandise sales ($2 million) per store versus 7-11. QuikTrip relies on lower priced but less selective inventories of basics like junk food, beer and cigarettes to keep shelf merchandise moving, per Forbes.
According to New Image Marketing, QuikTrip is the No.1 gas retailer in Tulsa and Kansas City and No.3 in Atlanta and St. Louis. ƒ