- Travel center chain Wally’s has revealed plans to open multiple locations in the Kansas City, Missouri area, including its fourth and biggest store yet, according to a Tuesday announcement.
- Wally’s fourth travel center will open in Independence, Missouri, about 11 miles east of downtown Kansas City. The site will feature a 50,000-plus-square-foot travel center, 80 fueling positions and an estimated 20 electric vehicle charging stations in the forecourt, according to the announcement.
- Wally’s expansion to Kansas City underscores the retailer’s broader growth plans of developing stores throughout the Midwest and building a brand presence at highway exits across the region.
Since Wally’s operations and development team — as well as one of its travel centers — is located in St. Louis, the move to Kansas City is a “perfect fit,” CEO Michael Rubenstein said in the announcement.
If all goes according to plan, Wally’s expects to break ground on the Independence site next summer, Rubenstein said.
“We still have work to do with the City of Independence to clean up some of the challenges that exist at this spot, but we have been extremely appreciative of the City’s continued support and fully expect that we will be able to finalize all of the developmental items,” Rubenstein said.
Earlier this summer, Wally’s disclosed plans to open its third travel center in the Whitestown suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. The 45,000 square-foot travel center is also expected to break ground in late 2024, according to a report from the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Both of Wally’s existing travel centers — located in Fenton, Missouri, and Pontiac, Illinois — are split into three “experience stations,” all of which include private label goods that customers can also purchase through the retailer’s online store. One section of each store is for standard c-store items like candy and beverages; another is for made-to-order foodservice; and the third features clothes, home goods, kitchen supplies and more.
While retailers like Wally’s and Buc-ee’s have led the way in the travel center space, these supersized c-stores have also taken off among more traditional players. Casey’s General Stores, RaceTrac, QuikTrip and others have identified travel centers as part of their future growth plans, with experts noting these sites can offer higher-margin items and EV charging, among other things.