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Kwik Trip expanding in Scanlon on motel lot

Kwik Trip is expanding its footprint off Interstate 35 in Scanlon after its corporate owners bought the defunct motel near the convenience store. There will be a shuffle of properties as the Golden Gate motel is expected to be demolished this fall and the lot used for a liquor store and parking expansion. Kwik Trip bought the Gramma Polo's liquor store earlier this year and has run its Kwik Spirits operation out of it. It now plans to demolish the five-year-old building to make way for a car wash.

Scott Teigen, a Kwik Trip vice president and part of its real estate team, said the popularity of the store demands more space. Acquiring the motel property will allow access to the store off the Carlton County Highway 61 frontage road, easing congestion at the County Highway 45 entrances, he said.

The space will allow for more semi-trailer parking as well.

"We're cleaning up this corner," Teigen said.

The Golden Gate Inn closed in May under a cloud of complaints about illegal activity at what had become a place for extended stays. Its doors and windows were boarded up and left many in the area wondering about its fate. The motel opened in 1976.

Teigen said Kwik Trip has always had an eye on expansion. Cindy Peterson, an owner at Trapper Pete's Steakhouse & Saloon - the only other business remaining on the corner - said she was approached by the company when it moved here in December of 2014. She said the owner of the motel refused to sell, so Kwik Trip purchased property that held a restaurant and strip club in order to make room for the store.

Peterson said she welcomes the change. "It's better with the hotel closed up," she said. "It was a seedy place. Hopefully this will mean more business." Trapper Pete's is staying put, contrary to rumors, Peterson said. The restaurant recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

Kwik continues to drop stores across the "triangle area" between Duluth, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities area, Teigen said. It has added two stores in North Branch and one in Rush City on the I-35 corridor along with stores to the west in Mora and Milaca.

"There's room for a lot of stores," Teigen said.

The Kwik Trip in Scanlon opened just days after a fire at the Golden Gate Motel in December 2014 displaced 32 residents. The motel was remodeled and renamed the Golden Gate Inn. Before closing this year, it had become a nexus for drug trafficking and other crimes.

Peterson said the motel owner just "up and left."

County records show that Kwik Trip paid $480, 000 for the motel and the sale closed Aug. 29.

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