MANKATO — An area just east of Minnesota State University designated as a “food desert” is set to get a large Kwik Trip convenience store, and plans for a similar size Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh store right next door is planned for this year.
Kwik Trip is planning to replace its current store on the corner of Stadium Road and Monks Avenue with a store nearly three times as large.
The move comes after Hy-Vee, in 2017, began plans for a similar-size Fast and Fresh store just east of Kwik Trip on Stadium Road next to Heron Drive.
The new Kwik Trip would be 8,300 square feet, compared to their average current store size of 3,200 square feet. It would provide more food options for 14,000 MSU students and the growing residential area on Mankato’s south side.
John McHugh, of the La Crosse-based Kwik Trip, said their new generation of stores are about 8,000 square feet.
“One reason is we’re rolling out fresh fried chicken in the stores, so that requires bigger kitchens and more space. And we have an entire case of take-home meals, in 30 stores so far, where people can just take a meal home and warm it up.”
The company told the city it plans to build the new store directly behind its existing one and to keep the current store open during most all of the new store’s construction. After the new store is finished, the older one would be removed and a new fueling canopy put in, leaving the store closed for only about two weeks.
The current car wash next to Kwik Trip also would be removed and a new car wash put in behind the new building.
The plan shows 20 parking spaces under the fuel canopy, 44 general parking stalls and three accessible parking stalls.
To accommodate the larger store and parking area, a storm pond will be installed west of the parking lot, between the parking lot and Monks Avenue.
A landscaping plan shows 15 deciduous trees and 30 evergreens on site plus additional parking lot and car wash screening provided by various shrubs and grasses.
Under U.S. Department of Agriculture definitions, the area is considered a “food desert” because it is an urban area without a supermarket or large grocery store within one mile.
Hy-Vee said late last year it plans to build its small grocery store this year. The West Des Moines-based company went through a 14-month approval for its planned Fast and Fresh store, a planning process that took longer than typical because a wetland is on the site. Hy-Vee has several Fast and Fresh stores in Minnesota.