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City Council OKs beer license for new gas station

A future Casey's General Store will be located at the site of the current Travel Express, seen Monday on Highway 59, in Worthington. (Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- At its regular meeting Monday night, the Worthington City Council approved the off-sale beer license for a new Casey's General Store.

The store is located at 2021 Highway 59 N., which is the address of the current Travel Express.

"We have not yet completed the acquisition," Brian Johnson, Vice President of finance for Casey's said earlier Monday. "It's expected to close within the month. The employees have all been notified, and I don't think it's under any type of confidentiality hold right now.

"Obviously, the fact of the matter is, some sort of formality could pop up and the transaction could be delayed. But we're expecting to close on the transaction soon."

Casey's General Store, which is an Iowa-based company out of Ankeny, already has two stores in Worthington, located on each end of Oxford Street.

"As far as our plans, we think we can handle three stores in Worthington," Johnson said. "It's been a great town for us over the years. This location picks up some traffic that other stores do not pick up. We plan to add our food service programs to this location."

The location, which will be across from the new Worthington Event Center, will have pizza, donuts and a new made-to-order sub sandwich service.

"I believe we're going to try to get our made-to-order sub sandwiches, which I don't know if we have those in our other two stores, that's a relatively new item," Johnson said. "We only have it in a couple hundred stores.

"It's basically a made-to-order sub sandwich program, a lot like a Blimpie or Subway-type format. We bake the bread right there at the store and have fresh topping. You stand over the toppings and pick what you want on there and order a sandwich in that regard."

Casey's has more than 1,700 stores in the chain, with 111 of those stores in Minnesota.

"We certainly have more stores in smaller towns. Worthington is a large community for us. Over 60 percent of our stores are in towns of 5,000 people or less," Johnson said.

"We view Worthington as one of our larger communities, believe it or not. We have a lot of stores, our store count is over 1,700 stores. We do have plenty of instances where we have multiple stores in town smaller than Worthington."

According to Johnson, there will be extensive remodeling done to the current building.

"I think Step 1 will be to complete the transaction from the sellers, which will hopefully occur within the month," he said. "After that, we try to get the remodel done as soon as possible; we obviously like to do it when the weather is warm. I haven't seen the final drawing, and I couldn't tell you exactly what's going on there other than when we remodel it's done primarily to put our food service program in place. We have pretty significant kitchen in our stores that most C store operators do not have."

According to its website, Travel Express is owned by Prairie Holdings Group.

In other business, the city council approved an interim use permit for CS McCrossan Construction, Inc. for a temporary concrete plant.

The council also welcomed honorary council member Carl Nagel, who will be serving in that role during the next three months.

At the beginning of the meeting, the council recognized Anthony Luft, a junior at Worthington High School, for his recent state title at 120 pounds at the Class AA Minnesota State High School League wrestling tournament.

"You and your team made the city proud this year," Mayor Alan Oberloh said. "We really appreciate that and want to publically congratulate you."

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Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.