Casey’s General Store, which broke ground last month at the southeast corner of State Street and Gladstone Avenue, plans to open its new Columbus store in April, a company spokesman said.
The convenience store chain headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines, is expected to hire up to 30 employees through job fairs next month, with hopes to fill all positions by March 15, District Manager Tim Russell said.
“The chain is a solid employer offering strong benefits to its employees,” said Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Frey, whose organization is working with the company to attract potential employees.
With 1,800 outlets in 14 states, Casey’s has 75 Indiana stores that include nearby locations at 2010 W. Center Cross St. in Edinburgh and at 400 N. O’Brien St. in Seymour.
However, the southeast Columbus location will feature the company’s largest, top-of-the-line floor plan, measuring 15 to 20 feet longer and 8 to 10 feet deeper than conventional Casey’s stores, Russell said.
That floor plan will include a large commercial kitchen, where fresh foods can be sold for dine-in or carry-out, he said.
Casey’s General Stores Inc.
Founder and year founded: Donald Lamberti, 1968
Headquarters: Ankeny, Iowa
Key executives: Robert J. Myers, CEO; and William J. Walljasper, CFO
Number of stores: Approximately 1,800 (75 in Indiana)
Annual revenues (announced December 2013): $2.02 billion
Net income (announced December 2013): $41.32 million
“We’ll have a full submarine sandwich shop with bread fresh-baked daily, as well as made-to-order sandwiches that include hamburgers, cheeseburgers, breaded chicken and breaded tenderloins,” Russell said. “We’ll also have the made-from-scratch pizza and cake doughnuts. That’s what we’ve built our reputation on.”
While it’s likely the store will be open 24 hours, a final decision on an operating schedule has not yet been made, Russell said.
“It will be a great new dining option for (nearby) Dorel, Faurecia, Cummins (employees) and other restaurant-starved State Street workers, as well as the students at Columbus East,” Frey said.
After meeting Thursday with a company representative, Frey, a member of the State Street Revitalization Steering Committee, said she was delighted to learn that Casey’s plans extensive landscaping and the development of green space on its property along both State Street and Gladstone Avenue.
“There hasn’t been much development in that area of town for a long, long time, and I think this is symbolic of the opportunities available,” said Frey, who noted a $7 million improvement project is slated to begin this year along nearby Indiana Avenue. “I hope all this is just the beginning. There are tremendous assets (in southeast Columbus) that we need to preserve, promote and take it to the next level.”
The city recently completed an extensive planning study with the goal of attracting new development that will improve the State Street corridor.
Casey’s General Store has gained the reputation of supporting area charitable organizations and schools in the communities they serve through product and gift card donations, Frey said.
“You have our word that we are going to support the community and be in tune with what’s going on locally,” Russell said.
As a corporation, Casey’s General Stores supports four major national charities: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Autism Speaks and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, he said.
The new gas station and convenience store is being built at the site of the former Kennedy Mobile Home Park, which was owned by Bertha Kennedy until her death in 2007. Estate executors Gordon and Barbara Lake, who spent a number of years attempting to attract new investors, worked with Kennedy’s heirs to remove the last of the mobile homes from the nearly 60-year-old park in the summer of 2012.
The growth of the Casey’s General Store chain has not gone unnoticed by its competitors.
In March 2010, the Quebec-based Couche-Tard corporation, which operates worldwide convenience store chains that include Circle K, offered $1.9 billion for control of the company. Six months later, the 7-11 corporation attempted to acquire Casey’s for $2 billion.
Both offers were rejected.
Last month, Casey’s General Stores Inc. announced its quarterly earnings had risen by 26 percent as the company reported broad revenue growth and benefited from improved gasoline sales and margins, according to the Wall Street Journal.