With upcoming sale of Lakeside Travel Plaza, investors look for new opportunities
Weitgenant has other investment opportunities already in the works, including the potential to open a gas station in Rushmore.
WORTHINGTON — Four years after a group of investors came together to build the Lakeside Travel Plaza at the intersection of U.S. 59/Minnesota 60 and Nobles County 57, they are selling the business to Casey’s General Store. The closing date is planned for mid-May, according to Jon Weitgenant, a representative of the seven-member investor group.
While the investors hadn’t considered a sale of the property, which includes a Sinclair gas station, convenience store and Godfather’s Pizza Express, Weitgenant said they were approached by Casey’s last fall.
Not long after that, Kwik Trip had also approached the investors, he said.
Weitgenant said Casey’s remained interested through the winter, and saw the property as an opportunity for them to sell diesel in the Worthington market. Casey’s is already in the midst of selling its location at 1007 Oxford Street, which is located at the intersection of Oxford and McMillan. It has two other locations in town — one on U.S. 59, just north of Interstate 90, and the other near the east end of Oxford Street, at the intersection of Omaha Avenue.
Since Casey’s sells its own brand of pizza, the investor group has retained the rights to the Godfather’s Pizza franchise locally. Weitgenant said “a future decision has not totally been made,” whether they will open elsewhere in the community and, if so, where.
“Godfather’s saved us during COVID,” Weitgenant said, noting the dive in the price of gas early in the pandemic as people weren’t driving anywhere. If they do opt to open a new Godfather’s in Worthington, he said he preferred it would be a place where people could sit down to eat.
Meanwhile, Weitgenant has other investment opportunities already in the works, including the potential to open a gas station in Rushmore.
“Rushmore lost their petroleum opportunity — they have no fuel,” he said. The station never reopened after it was damaged by a storm last summer.
Weitgenant has teamed up with some different investors on that project, including a couple of individuals from Rushmore. He’s unsure at this time if it will be a cardtrol-type station or if they’d offer more services.
Another project, which includes another set of investors, is planned on the east side of Sioux Falls, on the newly opened Veterans Parkway that takes people from Interstate 90 to the east side shopping district of Sioux Falls, such as Menards and the shops at Dawley Farms.
“We’re going to look at building a new travel plaza just like the one we had here in Worthington,” Weitgenant said. “I’ve already secured some land there.”
As for the soon-to-close Lakeside Travel Plaza, Weitgenant said it was a wonderful experience and most of the employees may be applying with Casey’s.
“The right opportunity came along to have someone else have this (business),” he said. “Some of the partners were more excited about it than others. The business was fun. I was really excited to bring something to the south side of Worthington.”
“I’d like to say a big thank-you to all our customers from Jon and the entire investor group,” he added.