The older of the two Kum & Go gas stations and convenience stores closest to Drake University will close today.
“When it’s all said and done, this model, this smaller store format, it just doesn’t fit our future vision of where we’re trying to go as an organization,” Kum & Go district supervisor Tanya Beach said.
Beach said that many of the store’s core customers have left to shop at a newer and larger Kum & Go down the road. The older store is located at the corner of 22nd Street and University Avenue.
“So based off of seeing the sales that have transferred from here down to there was a big part of our decision,” Beach said. “And then also we’re rolling out a brand new food 2.0 program in a lot of our Des Moines stores and this store would not fit that model of having our brand new food program.”
Beach said Kum & Go will institute the new food program in all of its Des Moines stores beginning in April and through the rest of the year. She said the new program will include healthier options and will require remodeling.
According to Beach, all four of the store’s employees will be transferred to the Kum & Go at the corner of University Avenue and 31st Street near Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall. Beach said that the building will be demolished and that Kum & Go is hopeful it can sell the property to “a buyer that would do something positive for the community.”
“So we did just have dialogue with the [Drake Neighborhood Association] last night to inform them, and so hopefully, between them and our partners at the corporate offices, we’ll be able to find a great buyer for the [property],” Beach said.
In a Feb. 2 Facebook post, the Drake Neighborhood Association (DNA) wrote that they received a call from Kum & Go president and CEO Tanner Krause about the decision to close the store.
“While it is disappointing to lose a business, we understand their operational challenges and are so appreciative of their communication with DNA in order for us to help prepare our neighbors for this big neighborhood change,” the association said in the post. “The DNA will continue to work with our contacts at Kum & Go to monitor this project as the city’s plans for University [Avenue] grow in the future.”
Michael, a shopper at the store who only gave his first name, said he has worked at both the Kum & Go at 22nd and University and the Kum & Go at 31st and University. He said that the former is in a rougher neighborhood than the latter, which he said attracts more of the college crowd.
“I’m not surprised,” Michael said about the decision to close the store. “So when they told me, part of me wanted to say, ‘What took them so long?’ ”
The Kum & Go at 31st and University reopened around the start of Drake’s 2020-2021 academic year, The Times-Delphic reported in August of 2020. At the time, assistant manager Erica Sholley said that before it was torn down and rebuilt, the store wasn’t equipped to keep up with the community’s needs. The company made a different decision for the Kum & Go at 22nd and University.
“I mean, obviously, this has definitely been a store that a lot of individuals in the area, especially those that live near here, depend on and like to go to,” Beach said. “So we’re at least thankful and happy that we still have another Kum & Go for them to choose to shop at, which thankfully isn’t too far away from here.”
Grace Altenhofen wrote the Aug. 2020 article noted above.