Monday, March 21, 2016

QuikTrip vs. U-Gas vs. Circle K

In the lively neighborhood discussions regarding the Circle K expansion and liquor license, I’ve seen a number of neighbors talk about how great the mega QuikTrip and U-Gas stations are. They often conclude that by allowing Circle K to proceed with their plans the store at Jamieson and Fyler will bring similar results. I decided to delve into these three companies to get an idea of their mission, origin, size, and how they support their St. Louis communities. Here are some bullet points of what I discovered. 


  • Mission statement: “To provide opportunity for employees to grow and succeed.” [1]
  • QT was started in Tulsa, OK in 1958. Their headquarters are still there. [2]
  • It currently has 760 locations throughout the US and has been on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For for 14 years. [2] 
  • It donates 5% of annual net profits to 501c3 companies. They encourage applications from the St. Louis area for grants of up to $1000 each. [3] 


  • Mission statement: “Providing Fast & Friendly service in a Fresh & Fun environment.” [4]
  • U-Gas started in Fenton, MO in 1977. [4] Their headquarters are still there. [5]
  • It currently has 19 locations throughout the Saint Louis region. [5] 
  • Through March 27, is donating $.27 for each purchased 20oz Pepsi to the Blues for Kids Foundation. [6] 

Circle K (Midwest)

  • Mission statement: “Our mission is to be the best and most convenient place to shop, and work.” [7] 
  • Circle K started in El Paso, TX in 1951. It was acquired by Tosco in 1996, then Phillips Petroleum (now ConocoPhillips) in 2002 before being sold off to Alimentation Couche-Tard in 2003. Couche-Tard’s headquarters are in Laval, QC, Canada with the Circle K Midwest Division’s office in Columbus, IN. [8] 
  • Alimentation Couche-Tard is a Global Fortune 500 company [9] and currently has more than 16,000 stores across Canada, US, Europe, Mexico, Japan, China, and Indonesia. [10] 
  • Couche-Tard donates about 2.5%* of annual net profits to non-government organizations. [11] I was not able to find outreach specific to Metro St. Louis. 


It is unrealistic to claim that Circle K's business model and community outreach are on par with either QuikTrip or U-Gas. I love that U-Gas is a local company doing right by the people it employs and the community it serves. I have a huge amount of respect for QuikTrip (especially after reading this article). Although QuikTrip is based in Oklahoma, they are a paragon of a successful business with a thriving community-focused mindset. I see Couche-Tard as a global hydra too fascinated on acquiring assets and too focused on the bottom line to pay attention to the thousands of communities it inhabits. They've owned the station at the corner of Jamieson and Fyler for three years. Based upon their business model and personal observation, I have seen little -- with regard to how they treat employees, maintain their operations, or communicate with the community -- to make me think allowing them to expand and sell liquor will do anything but harm our community and pump money out of the St. Louis economy, out of the US economy, and into the pockets of a Canadian company's share holders.


* 2.5% is a calculation of $20 million in donations [11] of $811 million in profits. [9]

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jamieson and Fyler News: March 20, 2016

Hello Neighbors! Thanks again for subscribing to these Jamieson and Fyler updates.

Status of BB305 and the Liquor License 

The residential rezoning is currently in limbo. The Board Bill (BB305) to rezone the adjacent residential property is sitting with the Board of Aldermen's Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee (HUDZ). Alderman Vaccaro has said the city won't rezone from Residential (Zone "A") to Neighborhood Commercial (Zone "F") if Circle K will not rebuild. Circle K has said they won't rebuild if they don't get a liquor license.

To date, Circle K has yet to apply for a liquor license (we are watching that like a hawk).

On a personal note, it makes me frustrated and a bit paranoid that CK is wasting the city's time getting the ball rolling on the rezoning when they need to be focusing on the liquor license. Why are they pushing for rezoning when it is contingent on a liquor license application that is likely to fail -- unless they have something else up their sleeve?

On Canvassing 

Neighbor Felicia Foland has been doing a fantastic job canvassing the neighborhood and recently wrote in: “I see that the few people I spoke with really didn't know what to think of the gas station, so it is imperative we keep talking to neighbors in person, even if we repeat visits from neighbor to neighbor. I think we need to get the word out before the liquor petitioners show up!”

If you are interested in visiting with property owners, registered voters, and/or business occupants within the proposed Petition Circle, but need a few talking points, here are a few to help (do not feel you have to use these):
What is being proposed? 
The Circle K at the corner of Jamieson and Fyler is interested in:
  • Purchasing (a contract is pending) and rezoning the adjacent residential property to the east of its current location
  • Razing both the house and the current Circle K to build a mega store with (according to their YouTube walk-through) a 20 pump stations (there are currently 10)
  • Obtaining a liquor license to sell bulk beer and wine

Why is this bad for the neighborhood? 
A larger station will bring:
  • Lower residential property values
  • Increased traffic at and around Jamieson and Fyler; an intersection already congested and dangerous
  • Increased air, noise, and light pollution
  • Increased trash around the neighborhood

What can the community do? 
Circle K must obtain a majority of signatures within a 350ft radius Petition Circle. If those property owners, registered voters, and business occupants refuse to sign the petition for a liquor license, then the City will reject the application. Circle K has stated they are only interested in expanding if they can sell liquor. No liquor license means no expansion. 


'SAY NO' Lawn Signs 

Neighbor Brian Alcaraz has made 50 lawn signs for neighbors to put into their yards to let the community know the the Circle K expansion is bad for the neighborhood. If you would like one, please email him at

The Community is Talking

If you are interested in reading and/or commenting with the Lindenwood Park neighborhood online, I recommend checking out:
Facebook > Lindenwood Park Neighborhood in St. Louis

Nextdoor > Lindenwood 
Trolls are everywhere on the Internet and I’ve seen a few outspoken people in both locations who have thrown a lot of vitriol, pushing for the expansion with little data.

I would ask anyone who engages to not escalate the nonsense with accusations and absolutes ("always", "never", etc.). If you must engage, try to use facts you can reference. Take comfort in knowing that the majority of the people on these boards will not be in the Petition Circle and will not be the ones deciding. Engaging face-to-face with our neighbors and friends in the Petition Circle is our best way of defeating this.

Thank you for being part of the solution,


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A meeting of minds

Last night a small gathering of nearly 20 property owners, registered voters, and business occupants came together to discuss the proposed liquor license and expansion. Most of those attending have been here for at least ten years, some even 30-40 years. Long-time residents recall the corner seeking liquor licenses several times in the past and stepping up to prevent those from happening as well. Although not everyone was in agreement on every issue or concern, it was great to see a high level of participation. I personally felt a pang of guilt last night having lived here for nearly ten years and in some cases only now making the opportunity to connect with some of my neighbors.

Many stories and opinions were shared, and I left the meeting thinking we agreed on at least two things:
  • Most were strongly against allowing a liquor license, a few were on the fence, and none were strongly for it.
  • All were in agreement that the proposed expansion of commercial property will damange residential property values as well as exacerbate existing problems related to the business and location.
We finished with an exchange of contact information and a list of action items to continue reaching out to other neighbors.

Best regards,

Friday, March 11, 2016

It begins...

In this morning's welcome message, I mentioned things hadn't started yet. Ha-ha! That was short lived.

This afternoon's mail consisted of a single envelope from the law firm representing Circle K.

In it, Daniel J. Emerson builds a case for "a state-of-the art facility that surely will improve the northeast corner of Jamieson and Fyler". He even included a link to a very attractive virtual walk through.

In the letter, he's open to be contacted about any concerns neighbors have about the proposed project -- although he didn't include an email address. We do have many concerns and objections to this project that will need to be presented and discussed in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading,


Welcome to this Jamieson and Fyler corner of the internet.

The fuel and food convenience store located at the corner of Jamieson and Fyler is proposing an expanded foot print into residential space, razing the area, and building a expanded store that includes liquor sales.

All property owners, residents, and/or business occupants near the proposed expansion share a stake in the outcome of this project. The current goal of this website is to serve as a resource for anyone seeking information regarding this expansion, its potential impact to the community, and to broadcast meetings where the proposal will be discussed and/or decided.

Although we embrace progress and will remain open to discussion, we object to the currently proposed expansion and addition of liquor sales because it promises to negatively effects the surrounding residential community in a number of critical ways. Specifically:
  • Decrease residential property values
  • Increase traffic at an already congested and dangerous intersection
  • Increase crime
  • Increase litter
  • Increase air pollution
  • Increase light pollution
  • Increase noise pollution
  • Increase volume of toxic materials stored on-site
  • Decrease the character of our residential neighborhood
Readers may be asking us to back up these claims. For starters, please read this article from Community & Environmental Defense Services and Point 3 from this article by American Financial Resources, Inc.

This website is currently being maintained by Seth Davis who is a nearby resident and property owner.

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