By Kristen Miller
Jack’s convenience store, located on Highway 12 in Cokato, opened Wednesday and is joining a group of four family-owned businesses under the same name.
The former convenience store at the same location closed in December after being owned and operated for 11 years by Kirk Asplin.
John and Karen Derichs own and operate four Jack’s companies, with Jack’s Oil Distributing of Eden Valley being the first company started by Karen’s father, John, aka Jack.
Jack’s Oil was the petroleum supplier for Kirk’s Travel Plaza.
John and Kirk have been longtime friends, and John became aware of Kirk’s intentions to sell the business.
“Our goal is, we want to do more of these,” John said, of the convenience stores. Another convenience store is in Watkins, and has been open for three years.
John also commented that he likes the Cokato community.
“The opportunity presented itself,” said John’s sister and the company’s general manager, Joyce Manske.
Following the purchase, the family began remodeling the space, with the goal of opening the store Feb. 18.
Manske was pleased to report they were able to meet their target date.
What customers will find at Jack’s
John’s son, Nathan, was the project manager for the remodel, which included a “significant investment” made in the touch-free car wash.
Customers will find the inside store remodeled from floor to ceiling, including new tile, Sheetrock, coolers, and a redesigned floor plan.
“We wanted to go with an open concept,” Manske said, noting the store is now more spacious for customers.
Like Kirk’s, Jack’s offers a full kitchen, with its own homemade pizza recipe and the fresh Champs Chicken line, with take-out and to-go options.
Not only did they do “a lot of research” to find a good brand of fresh food, “We feel the pizza we created is excellent,” Manske commented.
Also included on the menu is a full breakfast line with sandwiches, burritos, and biscuits and gravy.
Coming soon, Manske said, will be a take-and-bake option for the pizzas, as well as deli items such as wraps and other “grab-and-go items.”
A date for a grand opening event is not yet set, but Manske said it would probably happen closer to spring.