Cashier Kassi Hardies gives change to Kim Bybee at the Korner Mart at 1311 W. Front St. in Albert Lea. – Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune
Cashier Kassi Hardies gives change to Kim Bybee at the Korner Mart at 1311 W. Front St. in Albert Lea. – Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Shakopee couple buys Korner Mart stations

Published 9:58am Monday, June 30, 2014

The Korner Mart convenience stores in Albert Lea have new owners.

Albert Leans Kevin and Tami Weitzel sold the two stores June 23 to Ben and Amy KC of Shakopee. Yes, KC is the last name. The selling price was not disclosed.

The Weitzels had owned the stores since April 23, 2008, when they bought them from Ron Kraus. It was the same year Kraus sold Albert Lea-based Kraus Foods to Bloomington-based Fourteen Foods. Kevin Weitzel had been chief operating officer at Kraus Foods.

Weitzel said he and Tami are not moving and will remain in Albert Lea. He said they wanted to focus on the Dairy Queen restaurants they own: the one in Wells and two in Wisconsin.

Samantha Kohnert fills up her Chevy with Mileage gasoline Friday at the Korner Mart at 1311 W. Front St. in Albert Lea. – Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune
Samantha Kohnert fills up her Chevy with Mileage gasoline Friday at the Korner Mart at 1311 W. Front St. in Albert Lea. – Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

“We really appreciate the patronage of our customers over the years,” he said.

Ben KC said he had a friend who purchased a gas station and it influenced him to buy the Korner Mart stations.

KC, 42, said he and his wife recently closed a store they owned at the Mall of America. It was called InStyle Handbags, featuring designer purses, wallets and similar products. The couple and their two children plan to move to Albert Lea.

He said they don’t plan to change the general model for the Korner Mart stores.

“It’s a good business model,” he said.

There are 13 workers, he said.

“I am very happy with the employees,” KC said.

And he said he wants to show support for the community and be part of community activities.

KC does intend to lower prices on milk and other grocery items to increase volume, he said. Because he had to apply as a lottery seller as a new business, he is waiting on a permit to sell Minnesota Lottery tickets. He said he hopes to have lottery by Friday.

Korner Mart last year switched its gasoline vendor to Mileage from BP. Weitzel said it was unrelated to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. He noted Korner Mart had strong gasoline sales in the wake of the disaster.

He said the switch had more to do with branding. BP — formerly called British Petroleum and which in 1998 merged with Amoco — has its North American headquarters in Houston. The vertically integrated global oil company is focusing on freeway locations. Mileage, Weizel said, is based in Rosemount and has been around since 1925.

Weitzel said he likes having a Minnesota-based gasoline provider and said he has received compliments on the gasoline quality.

KC said he likes Mileage gasoline, too. He noted it comes from a Minnesota refinery operated by Flint Hills Resources.

The two Korner Mart stations are at 1311 W. Front St. and 901 W. Main St.