LA CROSSE, WIS — Kwik Trip owners Don and Steve Zietlow have honored the clean restroom promise pledged in store #138 by demolishing and then rebuilding the entire store with brand new materials.
An anonymous patron called the toll-free number early Wednesday afternoon, which led to a construction crew arriving within 20 minutes to begin demolishing the La Crosse store. Multiple reports indicated a wastebasket overflowing with used paper towels prompted the phone call and subsequent response.
“I couldn’t believe it,” customer Joe Pagels said. “One minute I’m pumping gas, and the next minute all the pump stations are gone. These guys weren’t messing around.”
Pagels said he also witnessed a large Kwik Trip passenger van speed into the parking lot to deploy what appeared to be an emergency response team of Kwik Trip coworkers. He said the team worked quickly in dismantling the store and removing all of its products, shelving, coolers, and cases.
“Oh yeah, they ransacked the motherfucker,” Pagels said. “I wonder what they did with all those doughnuts. Those are still good you know.”
Demolition was completed around 7:30 PM Wednesday night. A second construction crew then moved in to start rebuilding. Surprisingly, the store was able to remain open through Thursday’s construction.
Customer Jane Sandstone marveled at the speedy response and uninterrupted service as the store was rebuilt around her as she shopped.
“Everyone was very nice, politely apologizing for the inconvenience the temporary construction caused. I was offered several specials and a free Glazer doughnut for my trouble,” Sandstone said.
In a statement released to the press Thursday evening, owner Don Zietlow described the wastebasket incident as “disturbing, unacceptable, and not the Kwik Trip way.”
“I take the clean restroom promise very seriously. The situation at this particular store could not be rectified through any other means outside of a total demolition and rebuild. We thank our customers for their patience and support during this time,” Zietlow said through the statement.
In a reply to an email asking why the situation could not have been remedied by simply emptying the wastebasket and replacing the liner, Zietlow said, “Shortsighted response. That’s bush league. Only a Freedom station would do something like that.”
Reporters Greg Lovell and Dr. Jonathon H. Dong contributed to this article.