Kum & Go President and CEO Kyle Krause recently sat down with the Tulsa World to share some thoughts on his business, the economy and social networking as a way to connect with customers.
In addition his career at Kum & Go, Krause also owns Solar Transport, the largest Iowa-based transporter of refined fuel, and holds a National Association of Convenience Stores Leadership MBA from the Fisher School of Business at Ohio State University.
“Fifty years ago in September, my grandfather Tony Gentle and my father, W.A. Krause, entered the convenience store business with a true passion for providing exceptional customer service,” Krause told the Tulsa World. “Today, 400-plus stores later, Kum & Go is the fifth-largest private convenience store chain in the nation, and it’s still focused on going all out for our customers.”
Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go L.C., operates more than 431 convenience stores in 12 states (Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming and Wisconsin), and these days is giving QuikTrip Corp., whose headquarters is in Tulsa, Okla., some friendly competition.
“We entered the Tulsa market in 2004 and currently have 28 stores in the metro area. We really enjoy the Tulsa community and look forward to our future growth,” Krause said.
This fall Kum & Go will open a new store in the Tulsa metro area, in Broken Arrow, Okla.
“QuikTrip is a good company, and we know Tulsa is their headquarters. However, we saw Tulsa as a vibrant community and we believe that Kum & Go can offer its residents more choice in the convenience space. As I’m sure QuikTrip would agree, there’s always room for some healthy competition. As for the future, we plan to continue our growth in the Tulsa metro area,” Krause said.
Kum & Go also has embraced social networking with Facebook and Twitter accounts. Krause said the company’s goal is to provide another way for the company and its customers to communicate.
“We want to make sure we can engage customers comfortably with social media networks, to allow us to keep them abreast of offerings and allow them to provide us with much-needed feedback. We’ve built quite a fan base and tweet quite often, so be sure to check us out. We try to keep it fun and fresh, so you never know what we will be up to next,” Krause told the Tulsa World.
Tulsa residents can tweet “Tulsa World coffee deal” to @kumandgo to receive a coupon for a free 20-ounce Java Ridge coffee at Kum & Go.
Surviving the Recession
Krause said his company is navigating the choppy economy fairly well.
“Fortunately for Kum & Go, our stores are mainly in the Midwest, so we have not felt the recession quite as hard as businesses on the coasts. However, we understand the importance of staying on top of market movements to ensure our product pricing is as competitive as possible for our customers,” he said.