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Kwik Trip plans store in Hastings

It's no coincidence that A+ Tattoo and Old Mill Pawn have both relocated recently. Both businesses were located near the intersection of Vermillion Street and County Road 46/47.

The properties were sold recently to gas station company Kwik Trip.

"We purchased a chunk of property," Hans Zietlow, real estate director for Kwik Trip, said. "Whether it becomes a station is up in the air."

Zietlow described the purchase as a "long-term real estate investment," saying that while Kwik Trip does plan to build a station in Hastings someday, it could be years down the road and not necessarily this location.

"We may end up just holding the piece of property we have," Zietlow said.

This isn't the only potential location.

"This is the only one that we have bought," Zietlow said. "But we certainly have looked at plenty of other properties."

The property they've purchased, about an acre, isn't enough to build a gas station on, but by taking ownership Kwik Trip can control how that land is developed.

"It's a real estate investment thing," Zietlow said. "Right now the site by itself wouldn't be a convenience store, but if we had more property, maybe it would be."

This isn't the first move Kwik Trip has made to buy property in Hastings, or even on this particular corner. The company made a move to buy the same land about 10 years ago, Zietlow said, but the sale was never finalized for development reasons.

"It's not an easy site to develop," Zietlow said, because of the shallow bedrock there and access into and out of the site.

It might take five or 10 years, but Kwik Trip does plan to build in Hastings.

Hastings' size and location midway between the Twin Cities and La Crosse, Wis. (where Kwik Trip is based) make it an appealing site.

"We think Hastings is a great community, too," Zietlow said. "It's one of those cities I think will beat the average in getting through the recession."

Kwik Trip is also looking to build in a number of other cities, including Cottage Grove.

"Hastings and Cottage Grove we don't have locations in yet and we'd like to have stores there," Zietlow said.

Kwik Trip's next step with their newly acquired property is to bring in a team of engineers too look at it and see what options they have. For now, the lots will remain as they are, Zietlow said.

The two businesses that used to occupy the space will continue to work along Vermillion Street. A+ Tattoo moved to the intersection of Vermillion and Fourth streets, while Old Mill Pawn is moving to the intersection of Vermillion and 25th streets, to the building formerly occupied by NAPA Auto Parts.