The end of the year will mark the end of an era at Kwik Trip as Don Zietlow retires as President and CEO.
Zietlow has been with Kwik Trip for 52 years, including 22 as president and CEO, leading the company through growth and expansion to more than 800 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan, according to a news release from Kwik Trip. Throughout his leadership, Kwik Trip has expanded its support center in La Crosse and invested in the “vertical integration” of the company. Kwik Trip makes Glazer donuts, for example, in its own bakery, they are shipped on Kwik Trip trucks and sold in Kwik Trip stores. The company has made significant investments in dairy, kitchen, bakery and distribution center under Zietlow’s leadership.
Zietlow has been on Kwik Trip almost since the beginning. The company opened its first location in 1965 in Eau Claire, then its second in La Crosse in 1971. Earlier this year, Zietlow told the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin it was a humble beginning: Kwik Trip began as neighborhood grocery stores whose signs had painted letters cut out of plywood. He said that the success of Kwik Trip comes down to two ingredients: the right people and the ability to have the products that guests want and are looking for and to be able to offer them at a good price.
Zietlow also invested in his employees, calling them his co-workers and sharing 40% of the company’s pre-tax profits.
“People are our number one asset,” Zietlow told the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin in January. “There is more to a job than the pay. You have to feel like you are making a difference. That is our mission, and that is what our co-workers do every day.”
Kwik Trip employees have felt that appreciation over the years as well. For a story from February, employees told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin that they appreciate 40% profit sharing and that Zietlow treated them like co-workers, coming to work in a Kwik Trip uniform every day instead. suit and tie. They said he was always open with them about the ins and outs of the company.
When news of Zietlow’s retirement hit social media this week, members of a Facebook group called the Wisconsin Kwik Trip Enthusiast Club shared their appreciation for him and his leadership at the company. Dozens of employees shared how much his kindness and leadership meant to them.
As Zietlow prepares to retire at the end of the year, the company will remain in the family. Effective January 1, Scott Zietlow will become the new president and CEO as a second-generation owner. Scott is currently the Chairman of the Board of Kwik Trip and will retire as Professor of Surgery in the Division of Trauma, Critical Care and General Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to serve in his new role at Kwik Trip. .
“I am honored to carry on my father’s legacy of guiding Kwik Trip,” Scott said. “We are a very strong company, and with our 36,000 phenomenal co-workers, great retail stores, and industry-leading vertical integration, our future is bright.”
As part of the transition, Tom Reinhart will be the new COO and Jeff Wrobel will continue as CFO.