By Neil Johnson - Oct 13th 2022
In what Kwik Trip says is a rarity in its recent development projects, a new store on Wright Road in Janesville has hit a snag that could push its opening back a few months.
The culprit, apparently, is ongoing rolling shortages of construction supplies.
Supermarket chain Hy-Vee, meanwhile, is similarly blaming construction supply chain tie-ups for the delay of its redevelopment of a vacant former Shopko store at 2500 Humes Road into a new grocery store, pharmacy and burger bar and grill.
Streve Wrobel, a company spokesman for La Crosse-based Kwik Trip, said it’s waiting on a single electrical transformer needed to service part of the new store planned at 1100 Wright Road on the city’s east side.
Contractors were working Thursday at the store site, with some crews putting together electronic panels on the new shop’s new gas pumps. But Wrobel said it likely won’t open in November as Kwik had earlier planned.
It’s likely the delay in the shipment of electrical equipment means the new Kwik Trip won’t open until sometime in early 2023, possibly mid-January, “pending the ability to resolve the supply issues,” Kwik Trip’s real estate development division said in a statement.
The store on Wright Road, when completed, will be the third new Kwik Trip to come online in Janesville in two years. That includes new locations with car washes and liquor stores that opened within the last year along Humes Road and East Milwaukee Street.
Wrobel said Kwik Trip currently has 12 active projects in what has been a building boom for new stations across Wisconsin in the past three years. He said the Wright Road delay is the first time an equipment supply shortage has stalled any of the projects.
“We have not really experienced this with other stores we’ve had scheduled to open. We haven’t had to adjust them too much. It’s kind of a one off thing for us,” Wrobel said. “They (an electrical equipment supplier) are facing the same problem we all are with different supply chain issues.”
Electrical transformers convert electricity coming off the power grid from high voltage to a lower voltage for use in commercial buildings or residences.
Electrical equipment shortage
Since earlier this year, electric utility groups such as the American Public Power Association have been warning of a shortage in electrical equipment, particularly electrical transformers.
That’s in part because of a lag in production during the COVID-19 pandemic and because of increases in demand driven by new solar power projects and damage to the grid from hurricanes in 2021 and 2022.
A city of Janesville’s planning department clerk said Thursday that its building division is trying to help Kwik Trip locate an alternate supplier of electrical transformers.
Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee had hoped to open its new Humes Road location this fall, but that timeline has since been pushed out.
Hy-Vee spokeswoman Dawn Buzynski did not offer more details on the construction delay, but said the store is now targeting an “early spring” 2023 opening pending no further delays.
Work continues at the future store. But in an Oct. 6 request to the city of Janesville’s liquor board, for a extension to its alcohol license application for the new Humes Road store, Hy-Vee’s accounting office blamed “construction delays due to supply chain issues for building materials and equipment,” according to a filing at the city clerk’s office.
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