Kroger’s Kwik Shop breaks ground on Rx

WICHITA, Kan. —Another of Kroger’s convenience store holdings is about to wade into the retail prescription business. And the latest incursion could go beyond the small-scale test stage.

Hutchinson, Kansas-based Kwik Shop has begun expanding two of its convenience stores in the Wichita market to accommodate both pharmacies and a larger fresh-foods selection. The stores reportedly will reopen in May, at which time each will include a drive-through pharmacy staffed by professionals from another division of Kroger: the Dillon supermarket chain.

Both Dillon and Kwik Shop operate in the same Midwestern region, but the addition of a pharmacy will be a first for Kwik Shop, and a rare occurrence for any U.S. c-store chain. The move follows the opening in 2007 of a prescription center in one c-store operated by Tom Thumb—another Kroger banner—in Pensacola, Fla.

Neither Kwik Shop president Jeff Parker nor sources at Kroger could be immediately reached for comment. However, Parker described the move into pharmacies as an added convenience for Kwik Shop customers in an interview with The Wichita Eagle, indicating that it was based on the “definite success” of the Tom Thumb pharmacy in Florida. Parker also told the newspaper that the c-store chain might consider adding more pharmacies in Kansas in the future, “to fill in spots where customers might not have easy access to a pharmacy.”