Alabama’s first QuikTrip Travel Center is now open off Exit 77 in Tuscaloosa.
The opening, at 4001 Buttermilk Road, comes almost two years after the City Council agreed to annex most of the 9-acre site to accommodate the national retailer’s first investment in the state.
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At issue was the company’s desire to leave a 0.3-acre tract under the jurisdiction of Tuscaloosa County so that it could erect a sign higher than the 60-foot limit imposed by city regulations in order to attract travelers on Interstate 20/59.
With that hurdle cleared in January 2020, construction is now complete and operations officially began Wednesday.
“We are excited to introduce QuikTrip in Alabama with our first Remote Travel Center in Cottondale,” said Amy Gulizia, division manager for QuikTrip’s Remote Store Network in a news release announcing the opening. “We look forward to introducing our unique QuikTrip brand and culture to our new community.”
The QuikTrip off the Cottondale exit is a new store model created specifically for highly traveled areas of the country that are also within a reasonable proximity to a QuikTrip Distribution Center for access to fresh food, the company said.
Tuscaloosa’s Travel Center features a larger designed lot and more spacious store than a traditional QuikTrip, the company said, with room to service 20 vehicles for gasoline and six diesel bays for large trucks.
Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, QuikTrip was founded in 1958 and has since grown to an $11 billion company with more than 900 stores and 24,000 employees in 15 states.
And Tuscaloosa won’t be the company’s only entry into Alabama. Planning is underway for future Travel Center locations, with several sites currently under construction including locations in Calera and Opelika that are expected to be open by the end of this year.
The Cottondale store will feature the company’s full line of QT “snackles,” including its freshly-brewed coffee and QTea, as well as a complete menu of grab-and-go items like fresh doughnuts, salads, wraps, QuikTrip’s signature pizza-by-the-slice and roller grill items.
The local Travel Center also features an expanded QT Kitchens location, offering fresh, made-to-order food, specialty drinks and frozen treats, like QT’s QuikShake. Among the customer favorites of QT Kitchens include warm, soft pretzels, X-large pizzas, custom breakfast tacos, hardwood smoked BBQ sandwiches and cold brew coffee, among other selections.
QuikTrip also gives back to the communities it serves, with each store generating on average $1.3 million in annual local and state taxes, the company said.
QuikTrip donates 5% of its annual net profits to charitable organizations, supporting such agencies as the United Way, local food banks, schools and Folds of Honor, a non-profit whose mission is to provide educational scholarships to the military families of those who have been killed or disabled while on active duty.
“The Travel Center allows us to not only create meaningful connections with our new local customers in Cottondale,” Gulizia said, “but also serve travelers in this busy part of the country.”
Reach Jason Morton at email@example.com.