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Killdeer Convenience Store soon to expand

Aubree Bolenbaugh prepares some deviled eggs in the kitchen portion of the Killdeer C-Store, which will soon be expanding and adding on more employees. (Iain Woessner/The Dickinson Press) 1 / 2
It's looking a bit rough now, but come fall this section of the Killdeer C-store will include a Dairy Queen and the town's first ever drive-through. (Iain Woessner/The Dickinson Press)2 / 2

KILLDEER—The Killdeer C-Store is more than a convenience store. For years, it has served as a community hub, a place for people to cross paths and visit, and as activity grows in the Killdeer area, so too does the C-store as they prepare for an expansion that will bring more jobs and more services to the area.

"We're kind of a hub in town, lot of people met here," Ann Fleming, the C-store's manager, said of the proposed expansion, which is expected to add 6,000 square feet to the convenience store and gas station, allowing for a Dairy Queen restaurant with a drive-through, a first for the town. "(This is) just adding another aspect to the community, something the community needs. It's a place to eat. It's the first drive-through in town, and as far as the C-store goes, we could use the upgrade. We haven't had an upgrade since we were built."

So why Dairy Queen?

"Dairy Queen is a pretty good brand for these small communities," said Jamie Reese, general manager with Western Choice Cooperative, the parent company of the C-store and a long-standing fixture of the Killdeer community, as well. "There's not a ton that come into a small community of this size. McDonalds or Hardees, they're looking for the metropolitan area ... we only got 1,500 people in Killdeer, so you got to find a franchise that's willing to come into a community of that size."

The proposed expansion would add up to 10 new jobs, according to assistant manager Serena Ewer.

Reese said that the reasoning behind the expansion largely comes down to a matter of wanting to spruce up the store's infrastructure.

"Our store was built in '98 originally," Reese said. "What we've got is pretty worn out, so it's just time to upgrade it."

Reese said that since the store first opened, it has served as a "cornerstone" of the community. For that community, Reese said that all of the things they enjoy about the C-store, from its foodstuffs, pizza, chicken and confectionaries to its other goods and services, will all remain and potentially grow from the expansion.

"(There'll be an) expanded variety of items that'll stay true to our C-store core," Reese said. "It's an expanded variety of C-store items ... and we're going to put some additional gas pumps in."

Reese is a North Dakota native and has been in Killdeer since 2013. For him, the excitement of the ever-changing energy economy is his favorite part of the job.

"We've gotten pretty substantial oil traffic over the past five years, ever since I've been here," Reese said. "I just enjoy being a part of the energy economy we got going in Western North Dakota."

Reese said that the expansion is expected to finish up this fall, with no firm date set.