QuikTrip CEO: "What Happened in Ferguson Could Happen Anywhere"

Categories: Michael Brown

QTmain.JPG
Danny Wicentowski
Police guard the burnt-out, graffitied QuikTrip in Ferguson.
The QuikTrip at West Florissant Avenue and Northwinds Estates Drive has become ground zero, as the press corps here likes to say, for the unrest that grips Ferguson.

By day, it has served as a lively gathering place, a shelter from the rain and an icon of reclamation on a street that draws peaceful demonstrators against police brutality from all over the world. By night, its burnt-out husk is a shrine to chaos, a reminder of what happens when the tensions bubbling in this St. Louis suburb boil over.

The gas-station chain still isn't sure whether it will rebuild the destroyed store or reopen another store that's been closed as a safety precaution two miles up West Florissant Avenue. But so far CEO Chet Cadieux has been admirably upbeat about the community that has turned his brand into a symbol of protest.

See all Riverfront Times coverage of Michael Brown and Ferguson.

"Ferguson is a good, affluent area," Cadieux said Tuesday, according to Tulsa World.

"It's just that you get to a point that there's a deep sense of social outrage, and what happened in Ferguson could happen anywhere."

QTsign.JPG
Danny Wicentowski
A man looks over West Florissant Avenue from the former sign of the QuikTrip in Ferguson. All QT markings have been removed from the gas station.
Cadieux, who is notoriously difficult to reach for media interviews, commented on his Ferguson stores Tuesday during the International Council of Shopping Centers' Oklahoma Idea Exchange in Oklahoma City. He said the store at 9420 West Florissant Avenue hasn't seen any unrest since it was built in 1989.

"The people who are causing trouble aren't even from Ferguson," he said, according to Tulsa World. "They're opportunistic people coming into the area for looting."

Sunday night, a little more than 24 hours after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown nearby, rumors began to spread about the QuikTrip near the apartment complex where Brown lived. Protesters heard that Brown was shot because QuikTrip called 911 on him for robbing it, according to the Washington Post.

The rumors were only sort of true: Ferguson police say Brown did rob the nearby Ferguson Market and Liquor before he was killed.

See also: Michael Brown Police Report: Photos Suggest Robbery Beforehand, Limited Other Details

But the damage was already done. Looters smashed into the QuikTrip, stealing food and alcohol before setting it ablaze.

As of Tuesday, a chainlink fence keeps protestors and violent instigators off store property, and workers had emptied the underground fuel tanks. QuikTrip has declined to share how much revenue it is losing by closing two gas stations or to speculate about its return to the neighborhood.

"At some point, we hope everything calms down and we'll be able to take care of our customers," Mike Thornbrugh, a spokesman for QuikTrip, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Right now, we just can't do that."

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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114 comments
Rebecca Hake
Rebecca Hake

@John Nevettie you're disgusting. I was just making a joke because I love QT Kitchens. I wasn't being disgusting and racist like your stupid jokes don't you ever put me into a comment with your racist ass. Especially since you don't know me.Freaking ignorant morons.

John Nevettie
John Nevettie

Do you think they'll have fried chicken and watermelon just saying...

John Nevettie
John Nevettie

Yeah and just inside the store you should have a ball licking station

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Jesus really. You claim to know what Jesus would do. You are amazing.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

You say it's outsiders now prove that. You can't prove it. All have not been caught. Nice try.

Heather Woodside
Heather Woodside

That's not what Jesus would do, if you are a 'Christian'. You sound bigoted enough. I have family that live in Ferguson. If your family lived in that town wouldn't you want the best for them. Besides--MOST OF THE LOOTING IS COMING FROM OUTSIDE FERGUSON--EVEN OUT OF STATE--ARREST REPORTS PROVE THAT--IT'S IN LOCAL NEWS! If it was in your neighborhood what would you say? Jerk!

Heather Woodside
Heather Woodside

And Shame on Anyone who thinks that Ferguson does not deserve the chance to be rebuilt. MOST of the looting and destruction are coming from outside the area--even out of state. That is backed up by the arrest reports. People are taking advantage of a bad situation and if you haven't heard--we are a very poor state thanks to GOP policies. Ferguson is a home to many wonderful people--DO NOT LUMP THEM UP IN ONE GREAT BALL OF HATE AND SAY THEY DON'T DESERVE TO GET A NEW QUICK TRIP, BEAUTY SALON OR DELI! WHAT IF YOU LIVED IN FERGUSON?

Heather Woodside
Heather Woodside

One needs to understand that when they say it could happen anywhere--they mean this kind of stress that has been building over decades.... any moment this could happen somewhere else--WHY? Because FACT #1: PD's have become militarized since the Bush admin when they starting giving them surplus 'gear' from the Army, Navy, Air Forces.. FACT #2: Racism still exists and it is statistically PROVEN that people/cops will shoot a black man at a much higher rate than a white man because in an internal study black men were much scarier. FACT #3: When a group of people witnessed an unjustified killing---slaughter of a black man walking down the street---shit could happen. I live in STL. Grew up right next to Ferguson in Florissant. Racism exists. I know racist cops I went to HS with. When things get to a boil and there is no room to go--an explosion will occur. THIS IS WHY IT COULD HAPPEN ANYWHERE! Don't live in a bubble and think outside your safe little white world. It's fucking scary as shit!

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

The ones that were caught had to show ID, yes. Also, locals didn't recognize them and many were flat out saying they came from Jennings and other places.

Lisa R Driggers
Lisa R Driggers

No excuses, looter level their own towns don't deserve more stuff to loot..pull out.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

did they stop the looters and ask for their ID to see where they lived?

Dave Vincent
Dave Vincent

Why should the insurance pay for this, they did not destroy it, that is what makes insurance policy's so high. Anyone that has never owned a buisness should, you do not make as much as people think and the profit one does make from owning a buisness is very well deserved.

Reed Paladino
Reed Paladino

Not in my town. Granite City would have the turds flushed within a few hours.

Ali Rafiq
Ali Rafiq

Yea they shut the doors during the weeks of protest because they were afraid of the same type of looting action

Tyler Garrett
Tyler Garrett

Umm....isn't there a new QT just a couple of miles up the road?

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Just wait for the grand jury to do its job and stop glorifying s criminal.

Jennifer Keenan
Jennifer Keenan

So tired of hearing about this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Damion Hamilton
Damion Hamilton

Not surprised. QT makes a lot of money at that store. It's busy all the time. And that what it comes down to. MONEY.

David Lakine
David Lakine

What happened to the "PANCAKE" thing....

Jay Johnson
Jay Johnson

It does not sound like they will rebuild let's hope not

David Emrick
David Emrick

So if the one on kingshiway burns it will get better store..smh.disgusting

Sean Neuber
Sean Neuber

They better wait until after the investigation on officer Wilson is complete. Just saying.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Stop rewarding bad behavior. A criminal got shot. That's the whole story. Some want to make a criminal a savior. Not the real word. Just a dead criminal. I think they need to get a better savior.

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

That's not even close to what I said. I said they should rebuild because it won't cost them much (because they have insurance) and the profits they will make in that location make it worth it. #soundlogic

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Do you think they didn't have insurance on a building that has large tanks of flammable liquid buried below it? They probably won't have to pay much at all. And they were obviously making enough money at that location that they want to re-build.

Stephanie Hafertepe
Stephanie Hafertepe

He is right and Im sure they make good money at that location or theyd be gone.Wonder if any incentives were offered to stay?

Dave Vincent
Dave Vincent

They should NOT rebuild, look at how much money that will cost QT's because of something so stupid

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

<3 QT: "The people who are causing trouble aren't even from Ferguson," he said, according to Tulsa World. "They're opportunistic people coming into the area for looting."

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Move ALL businesses out !!! I hope QT doesn't rebuild. Stop rewarding bad behavior. The police force should be dissolved. Give the officers county jobs. Get the fire department out. Give them jobs where needed. Let ferguson fin for themselves. Take it a step further. Stop welfare payments. Food stamps going into ferguson.

Steven Yashuk
Steven Yashuk

everyone wants to blame what happened to Mike Brown for this but at least QT CEO has a level head!

Rafael Gonzalez
Rafael Gonzalez

No peaceful protesters are not to blame but all the losers looting and stealing are the ones that need beat.

Ophelia Payne
Ophelia Payne

I heard a business owner from Jennings say that he was offered insurance in the case of a riot but did not take it because he thought it would never happen. It was on NPR.

Angie Stamme
Angie Stamme

Nathan Bell, by your attack on Melissa, you clearly are against Wilson, or you are indifferent to Justice for Mr. Wilson AND Brown. I would ask YOU the same questions you asked Melissa.

Stephen Koehler
Stephen Koehler

No, they don't have to anything. They've been attacked. As one poster pointed out earlier, generally Insurance does not cover civil unrest so those businesses will be out everything. QT is a moderate sized corporation, and if it does rebuild, it will have to invest its own money in the reconstruction of the store. As such its insurance rates will be higher due to the nature of the activity that has occurred there. A lot of businesses cannot function in areas of former urban unrest because of the high rates insurance companies charge for their policies. Therefore, you will see a lot of businesses exit the area simply because it is no longer profitable for them due to high shoplifting rates, insurance and security costs. This is going to be a derision where the almighty dollar rules and the dollars and cents costs of doing business may prohibit them from operating in that area anymore. Its truly unfortunate, but they are in the business to make a profit and if they can't, well, they can't keep the store open.

John Nevettie
John Nevettie

In case you don't watch the news 2 city police officers just gunned down a guy with a knife did they have non-lethal options as well... You have to see the evidence to have an informed opinion.

Laura Knoblock
Laura Knoblock

John, I work with saint Louis city cops and they all say the cop was in the wrong. He had many non lethal options and chose his gun. Whether he was just scared or a racist asshole, he made a mistake and should be held responsible for his actions.

Gary Berry
Gary Berry

I can't even use my QuikTrip card there anymore.

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