WELCOME - Outside the Casey's General Store in Welcome, there doesn't appear to be a big change from when the convenience store was taken over from Nu-Way last year. But step inside and it's hardly the same place.
Along with a full kitchen for making pizzas, subs and donuts, there is also the full coffee bar and larger selection of fountain sodas, Icee slush drinks, even ice cream.
"When we buy the smaller chains, this is what we do," said Michael Meyer, Casey's General Stores district manager, who was on hand for the Welcome store's grand opening Friday. "We add the kitchens and do a complete interior remodel to make it more like a Casey's store."
NEW?SETUP?— Casey’s store manager Marilyn Stelter rearranges the donuts during
The Welcome store is the first to have a grand opening with the new remodeling revealed in Martin County. Casey's purchased the entire Nu-Way chain - including stores in Sherburn, Trimont, Truman, Butterfield and Amboy. Butterfield and Amboy stores also are having grand opening celebrations today, along with Welcome. Grand openings for Sherburn, Trimont and Truman are expected to take place this spring.
"We have the made-to-order subs here now, where we bake our own bread," said Meyer. "The pizzas are available; we also have the breakfast foods we make, both sandwiches and breakfast pizzas."
With the full kitchen comes a full kitchen staff, meaning 18 to 20 more employees at the store.
"The only thing that hurt was having to close for five days just before Christmas," Meyer said. "But we were able to open back up the day before Christmas Eve."
To mark the grand opening, the store is offering free coffee and deep discounts on some favorites, such as the pizza slices and donuts.
"We've had lots of positive feedback from the community," Meyer said. "I think this is a good fit for the community. Welcome is a nice little town, and they needed an expanded food selection."