Scales & Ales Podcast
Mike Thornbrugh – Spokesperson for QuikTrip: An Insider’s Look | Tulsa Podcast
Welcome back to the SnugStudio at Marshall’s Taproom! On this episode of Tulsa podcast Scales & Ales, we’re joined by a phenomenal guest who has had MAJOR impact on the incredible developments of the fabulous destination called QuikTrip. He’s the spokesperson of choice & Vice President of Government Relations for QuikTrip – Mr. Mike Thornbrugh! Welcome to the show!
- What has been the most recent strategic project you’ve been working on that you are really excited about…..and isn’t top secret……..?
- For anyone that’s listening that is unfamiliar with QuikTrip, can you explain the majesty of the QuikTrip experience and how you’ve managed to be the TOP of the gas station experience?
- How is it that QuikTrip
- Can you share anything about the business model where either the store brings the customers and they happen to get gas, or the low gas prices bring customers and fuels traffic for the store?
- Tell us about the change from offering strictly soda pop and candy and chips, and moving towards a WHOLE KITCHEN and offering fresh fruit there in the store?
- How exciting has it been to offer cold high point beer in the stores in Oklahoma?
- Now one of the most recent things I’ve been reading is beginning to arm the employees of QuikTrip, can you set the record straight on what the facts are about this?
- Is QuikTrip ultimately going to sell cannabis products?
- What are some of the biggest changes that you’ve seen?
Marshall Morris: Today we interview Mike Thornbrugh, the spokesperson for Quiktrip, and we talk about everything you’ve always wanted to know about Quiktrip.
Marshall Morris: Welcome back to the Snug at Marshall’s taproom. My name is Marshall Morris and to my left is the always funny, Mr. Eric. Chupp.
Eric Chupp: You’ve got to stop introducing me like that and you set the expectation.
Marshall Morris: I set the expectations and then you’re not as funny, right?
Eric Chupp: Hey, tell us a joke.
Marshall Morris: You’re onto my strategy.
Adam Marshall: What was that come back? He’s like, “I’m not your monkey.”
Marshall Morris: I’m not your monkey. Haha…
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh this is going to be fun fellas.
Marshall Morris: On today’s episode, we got some incredible people here with us. We have the co founder and VP of Marshall’s Brewing company and also practicing attorney at Barrow and Grimm…
Eric Chupp: Is it Barrow or Barrow?
Marshall Morris: Barrow and Grim, Mr. Adam Marshall.
Adam Marshall: Hello. Hello.
Marshall Morris: Today we’re also joined by a phenomenal guest. He has had major impact on the developments of the fabulous, fabulous establishment at Quiktrip.
Everyone: Quiktrip, Quiktrip, Quiktrip…
Marshall Morris: He is the spokesperson of choice for QuikTrip it’s, Mr. Mike Thornbrugh.
Mike Thornbrugh: And the brew part is really appropriate, right?
Eric Chupp: In fact, let’s go ahead and cheers and get this thing started up.
Mike Thornbrugh: Here we go.
Eric Chupp: From the Taproom in the Snug at Marshall’s…
Adam Marshall: No, actually, we got some Sundown Wheat and some Atlas IPA going. It’s all good.
Eric Chupp: Oh shoutout to the Sundown Wheat…
Marshall Morris: So, I want to get going here with Mike. What are some of the most recent strategic projects that you’ve been working on at QuikTrip that you’re really, really excited about? Um, and aren’t like super top secret?
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, we’re real secret or at least we think that we are. Um, I mean obviously it’s not really a secret. We’re trying to get better and better in the fresh food side of the business and we’ve been at it 10 years and we know it’s going to take a really long time. Um, so we’re working on that hard, but we keep going to new markets, uh, to expand the business. And we just opened up, you know, a couple of stores in San Antonio area going into Austin. So really the expansion mode for us is really what we’re, we’re really spending a lot of time and effort and will have a lot of money on, quite frankly.
Marshall Morris: Now in the QuikTrip history, okay. From what I’ve learned, read, I know that…
Adam Marshall: What you’ve Googled.
Marshall Morris: What I’ve Googled. But also we…
Eric Chupp: He shopped there twice a day, everyday for that last…
Marshall Morris: But we work with Clay Clark and he’s had the opportunity to sit down with both Chet and Chester in the past and talking about their expansion plans. And originally a QuikTrip history came from the idea of going into a 7-11. Did I understand that or that? How did that work?
Mike Thornbrugh: Well actually we stole the concept. Okay. I mean it’s really, really simple. In fact, we didn’t even come up with the idea. It was a guy by the name of Bert Holmes, who was one a Chester’s junior high friends, Bert came back from…
Adam Marshall: Bert’s a funny mother f***er. We need to get Bert on here. Oh man…
Eric Chupp: Hey shout out to Bert. You here that? Adam just invited you.
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh God, I’d, I’d sit back and laugh at that. He’s a really….
Eric Chupp: We’ll pack out the Snug…
Mike Thornbrugh: Ah hell, QuikTrip people will pack it because we know he’s going to say something. Bert was at an OU and Texas game in 1957 and he saw this concept. You know, the 7-11 and he said, it’s a home run. Nobody has it anywhere. And all it really was was like a Bantam grocery store, with the thousand square feet if that, but you could drive up to the front door and he came back and tried to piddle in Tulsa, nobody would would go for it. Then you ran across Chester one day. Chester was selling print somewhere and Bert brought what Chester was looking for. Really. The rest is history. A lot more to it than that, but that’s how it happened. By chance.
Marshall Morris: Sure. And so how has QuikTrip identified the markets that they’re currently in and expanded into in, how are they identifying some of the new markets that they want to go to?
Mike Thornbrugh: Ah, you know, it keeps changes every 10 years. Our model, what we’re looking for. Uh, but we really have to go to really high population areas because the way we build stores, the way we pay people. You got to do a lot of volume or you just can’t make it at all. That’s why we’re really going to larger, larger markets, but we’re changing again. We used to be in a lot of small, small towns and we pulled out because it didn’t meet what we’re doing and we’re starting to go back into some of those now. We keep changing. You have to. You’re crazy. You’re not going to be a business.
Marshall Morris: Right.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yes sir. You recognize.
Eric Chupp: Yeah, you were talking about some of the changes you guys are making on fresh food. What are some of the changes you guys have done? You know, if somebody hasn’t been to a QuikTrip, what like what are you guys, where have you worked on to get to that fresh food change? What does that mean?
Mike Thornbrugh: Well, what it means is typically everything has been self service. I mean you come in and we got something already prepared for your packaged for you and you just pick it up and out the door that you go, ah, and we still do a lot of them. We’re not going to change. But I mean, let’s face it. Would you rather have, you know, a package, Bologna sandwich or would you like to have a fresh slice of pizza and it’s going to take us a really long time. Who knows? I mean, we’re working on Tacos, uh…
Eric Chupp: Get outta here.
Mike Thornbrugh: No, actually we’re selling say a sh*tload of those in the San Antonio area and they’re doing really well.
Adam Marshall: I got to ask, maybe you don’t like shop at your own place, but like, uh, what, what’s your guilty pleasure at QuikTrip?
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh man, I still, I mean, I really like the donuts a lot as you can tell by my gut.
Adam Marshall: Ah man, I’m telling you, them damn egg rolls got something about them. Oh my God, those egg rolls. Those are fairly new. And I’m like, it’s like…
Eric Chupp: Do you buy one or two?
Mike Thornbrugh: I know we’re marketers. I mean we’re going to say, you know, one for x and then you buy two of them is cheaper than that.
Adam Marshall: So yeah, we’re for free. Right?
Mike Thornbrugh: Well that thought up is probably begins to law, but we’ll go ahead Eric. No follow up. Question on that. Oh
Adam Marshall: No, no, no. But that some I’ve thought about what, what in the industry, maybe it’s not unique to quick trip and in the, I mean you’re selling convenience, right? You’re selling good products, you’re selling fresh products, right? What in the industry is like maybe sneak, you’ve got a whole department of analytics, which I know a lot of big companies do, but market analytics and everything. Bright people there running, you know, crunching your data. But what’s like some, some sneaky stuff. Like when we designed the Gen 3 store, we made sure that this was here because we know that people, when they, when they follow this path and then down to that point and you use a design,
Mike Thornbrugh: We actually do have scientists, I mean, we call them egg heads, but they’re really, really smart. And we do, we, we look at people, we watch people. And it’s incredible. We know if you’re going to turn right, if you’re going to turn left, typically what you’re going to look for. And we know if you reach up high for some product, you probably want something else to go with it. And we’d, we market it that way.
Adam Marshall: Is there like a principal in the convenience store industry that like maybe they talk about and you know, and yeah, persuasive studies like…People have this tendency to do this and we capitalize on it.
Mike Thornbrugh: No, they do. People are creatures of habit. And once you understand their habit, I mean you can figure a lot of things out. Really stupid, easy thing for you when we bring out a new coffee flavor, right? So you see all the cups here and will you bring the new coffee flavor right by the cubs? People are smiling. They’re pretty lazy. I find that and I’ll come on. So they’re going to do that and then they party, they like this and if you move it two or three aisles down, our spots down, they’re still going to buy that. But then you bring in a new flavor. Well, I’ve never seen that…
Adam Marshall: Nicaraguan Blend, Donut Blend? I’m having Nicaraguan Blend!
Mike Thornbrugh: So it, it’s really, I mean, yeah, there’s science involved in, but if you watch people and you talk to people, I mean, you’re going to figure it out.
Eric Chupp: It makes sense.
Mike Thornbrugh: You really do.
Adam Marshall: I was just impressed. Everybody sitting here knows, I mean, you and I worked a lot quite a bit on the alcohol law changes. That’s how we got down with each other here in the state. And you’ve, you’ve worked on them in all your other markets. You’re, I know you have to defend ground, but I remember, uh, after October 1st and hit and you guys, you know, the slam on business, but, but you brought a few of the folks into the taproom here and I remember, uh, one of your execs, uh, top execs said was able to rattle off. He said, well, hey, where is the wine? Well, in the Gen 3 it’s on this side of L-1 row, you know, and it’s just like, I’m just like, boom. And this is one of your VPs just rattling off! And that’s crazy!
Mike Thornbrugh: Remember all these guys, Adam, all these guys started in the stores. I mean they’ve been doing this for 10, 20, 30, 40 years when we had no damn idea what we’re doing. We’re a little bit better today. We still got a long way to go, but they know, I mean they know if you play something here, how you designed a store, it’s all part of the growth process and I’m really good at it.
Adam Marshall: Any like secrets about Gen 4 stores? Like, like hot air balloon landing platform on top…
Mike Thornbrugh: We couldn’t think of, we had a generation one and two hey, let’s call it generation three. Yeah, here we go guys…
Eric Chupp: Gen 4 is going to have a drone delivery to the gas pump.
Eric Chupp: Or like the tube at the back….
Adam Marshall: Are you all experimenting with drones?
Eric Chupp: He doesn’t want to have to kill you. He can’t speak on that right now.
Mike Thornbrugh: We’re looking at everything. The world’s changing and we were going to change with it.
Eric Chupp: I want to shift gears for a minute. We’ve been talking about QuikTrip a lot. I want to ask you a question, sir. About, uh, what do you do after work? What do you into? What’s a hobby? Maybe people don’t know about you. What’s something you’re interested in?
Mike Thornbrugh: Well, unfortunately, I mean, I joke quite a bit then. I’m a company man because I’m one of those guys who at quick trip, those aren’t called 24 hours a day, right. Not because I’m good at it because nobody else will do it. So it lets face it. Okay. Um, you know, I have a son who’s 28, uh, and he’s a hell of a musician and he’s now going back to school and get his mechanical engineering degree. You can’t apparently make much money if you’re really good at guitar and you get paid with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Right?
Marshall Morris: Well, do you want to plug the band? I feel like you’ve got to take the opportunity to plug the band.
Mike Thornbrugh: Well, here’s my shameless… and I’ll tell you a funny story too. Yeah, I actually, we had him play at your guys’ old place.
Adam Marshall: Yeah, we had the band play over in the production facility. Tallows right?
Mike Thornbrugh: The band’s called Tallows and these kids all went to the USO—I call it the school of music or rock—and they all met there, they all have other jobs, but they just love music and they play quite a bit. Uh, so it was sort of one of my hobbies. I really love music. Um, and I love sports. Uh, not that I can play them anymore. I like to, Uh, I’m kind of getting to the point now where the kids are such age. I’m, I hate to say this, when you get that age, and I’m kind of waiting to see if there have grandkids and I’m going to spool. They yell at them if I can. Yeah, sure. I,
Eric Chupp: I’ve got an 8-year-old…
Mike Thornbrugh: It’s QuikTrip. I like to bring a hell of a lot of beer and I really have a passion for music.
Eric Chupp: Hey, well you couldn’t have explained a better fit for this podcast.
Marshall Morris: This is exactly what we’re all about. We’re about business and music and beer.
Eric Chupp: And at QuikTrip and Marshall’s in particular.
Marshall Morris: And a lot of QuikTrip and a lot of Marshalls.
Eric Chupp: We play music together and we like to record musicians around town and do video and some production work.
Mike Thornbrugh: What instruments do you guys play?
Marshall Morris: I play bass guitar and the cello.
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh that’s interesting.
Adam Marshall: Can you beat box at the same time and play the cello? That’s the guy from Pentatonix! They found him on this like in busking, busking in New York City playing the cello and beat boxing at the same time. I mean if you see the YouTube on that, it’s awesome!
Marshall Morris: It’s incredible. Eric’s been pressuring me to do that.
Mike Thornbrugh: How do you come from a cello to the bass?
Marshall Morris: Well, my dad owned both instruments and so he had the, he had an original…
Mike Thornbrugh: Hand me downs?
Marshall Morris: Yeah, hand me down instruments. He played the cello growing up through medical school and then he said that some of the most fun that he had was playing bass with his medical school colleagues. And then he played at him and my mother’s wedding.
Mike Thornbrugh: Okay. Here’s a good one for you. My son just got married three weeks ago. Right.
Eric Chupp: Oh congratulations!
Mike Thornbrugh: I know they’re the lead guitars as a kid. I loved who moved to the state of Washington so they didn’t tell me this cause I’m such a groupie of these kids, I’m going to have music in my car. And they had this curtain around the back of the wedding deal and after the wedding they end, they unveiled this curtain and the guy said in Tallows is going to perform.
Marshall Morris: That’s incredible.
Mike Thornbrugh: And I go, “sh*t, rock on!” I loved every minute of it.
Marshall Morris: That’s amazing. Well I want to ask you, and so for anybody that’s listening that isn’t familiar with the, the majesty of what QuikTrip is. It’s not your typical, how do you, how do you describe it? It’s not, it’s not a convenience store, it’s a, you know, a gas station-store or how would you describe that and would you maybe explain the main differentiators for where you guys have focused?
Mike Thornbrugh: And that’s a great question because when we go to new markets where people don’t have any idea who we are, they’re going to go, “Great, another convenience store coming to town.” And we can show them our design, we can show him how we pay people and how we merchandise and all that. And I still don’t believe you, but it’s like any other business in our view. It’s all about customer service and our people are fantastic. I mean they’re in perpetual motion, they’re bright, they’re witty, they bend over backwards to help you. And we really believe that you can build any building that we do. You can merchandise like we do, but they will not spend the money and they can’t replicate the customer service. And that’s to us what it’s all about.
Adam Marshall: It’s like so many you sell an experience. Yeah. I mean it’s a good experience to go…
Eric Chupp: It’s clean. It’s friendly. It’s intentional.
Mike Thornbrugh: It’s intentional. But here’s the, here’s the fun part on it. After we’d been there for a while. For instance, there was a, this may be a year or two years ago at city council meeting in Charlotte. And Charlotte didn’t want us there because we’re just a convenience store. Right. And after we opened up, you know, 8, 9, 10 stores, these guys were arguing and pissed off at each other cause they didn’t have a QuikTrip in their district and we’re sitting back going, “All right, they now know who we are. This is working.” That’s the ultimate high and that is wonderful. And they go, “You are the kind of guys we want here.”
Marshall Morris: So I’m going to describe the typical experience when you’re going to a gas station to fill up your car. You can maybe correct how QuikTrip does it differently. Number one is if I’m going to a gas station that is not QuikTrip, I’m getting out to pump and then I’m getting back into the car and that’s my experience. I’m not going in to the store.
Mike Thornbrugh: And what you didn’t say is your shoes are stuck to the concrete because of gum and there’s debris all over the place. The pump may or may not work; It may have a yellow bag on it. It takes forever for you to pump it right. And it’s really cold. So instead of buying 10 gallons, you’re going to buy two gallons, and get the hell out.
Marshall Morris: I can’t stand it. Right.
Mike Thornbrugh: No.
Marshall Morris: So once you walk into the store you go in just like a typical gas station, right. And then immediately, the first thing that I noticed is that people are greeting you when you walk in. It’s…
Mike Thornbrugh: Weird, right?
Marshall Morris: It’s weird! And they look up, they make eye contact. Is that something that is just because of the nature of the people that you hire or is that part of the checklist or what is that? Training?
Mike Thornbrugh: A little bit of both. I mean, obviously we want really outgoing people and in today’s world it is kind of odd for somebody actually say, “Hi, thanks for coming in and thank you for your business.” And it’s also how we pay them. It’s part of customer service. And there’s another thing that nobody really wants to talk about if you a guy or lady that may have a bad intention. If you come in and I look at you and I say hi, you may say, you know what, I’m going to do it and get out of here. And it does happen. Believe it or not, but it’s the people that we hire. They’re outgoing and it is part of their pay and if you performed, we pay our people a lot of money.
Eric Chupp: There’s a manager—sorry to interrupt you—there’s a manager over by our office out in Jenks at 96th and Riverside—Steven—and like, we’re like buddies. Because I’m in there all the time. “What’s up man?!” He comes over to me, he says hi. You know, he’s always buzzing around doing something.
Mike Thornbrugh: Everybody has their QuikTrip, right? And we got 700. we actually, we opened two new stores today. One in Kirby, Texas and one in Dallas, right. So now we’re up to 787…
Adam Marshall: Am I the only one that doesn’t know where Kirby, Texas is?
Mike Thornbrugh: I do now. But after a while we know who you are cause everybody has their QuikTrip and in a certain radius. And you come in, we know if you’re going to turn right and you’re going to turn left, we know what you’re typically gonna buy. We know if you’re going to pay with cash or you’re going to pay with a credit card. We know a lot about…
Adam Marshall: This is getting spooky now.
Mike Thornbrugh: And it would be a real shock to you guys, when you pay with a credit card we see your name. “Well, Kirby, hi, thanks for coming in.” It’s not that hard.
Eric Chupp: He told me Merry Christmas today actually. I saw him this morning.
Marshall Morris: So the other thing that is just—again, we have business owners that come in from all over the world, literally the world, to come to our business conferences that we have with the Thrive Time Show—and the thing that they say consistently that is different from maybe one convenience store, one gas station that maybe they’re used to seeing is the bathrooms. The bathrooms are incredibly clean. They are spotless. So why has there been such a focus on that?
Mike Thornbrugh: If you think about our core customer, quite frankly, is there in and out of the car all day long. Right? And they come to QuikTrip trip because they don’t have a restroom anywhere else. Uh, sometimes they don’t buy things, but they come in, if you don’t think
Eric Chupp: I’ve been guilty of that, I’m sorry.
Mike Thornbrugh: Well, I have too quite frankly.
Adam Marshall: Well if you’re on the universal ledge it evens out, right? Stephen knows you. So.
Mike Thornbrugh: They’re going to come in for that and to think about it a bit. We’ve been talking about fresh food. Well, why would you buy fresh food if you went into a restroom and there’s…
Eric Chupp: Fresh pooh.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, right. You’re not. And if you’re a soccer team or a whatever, softball team, baseball team, and they bring everybody in for practice, they’re not going to buy anything if you got a sh*tty restroom.
Eric Chupp: Very pun intended.
Mike Thornbrugh: Pun intended as well. So, but that, I mean, that’s really it. And we work really hard on it and it’s hard.
Eric Chupp: I’m butting in, I’m butting in. How important are check lists to the QuikTrip structure?
Mike Thornbrugh: We live on, uh,
Eric Chupp: That’s pretty important?
Mike Thornbrugh: They’re really important.
Marshall Morris: Sounds important!
Mike Thornbrugh: You know, you don’t really have so many hours a day. And if our stores, I mean we’re jam, fortunately jampacked with people day in and day out and if you don’t have a checklist and to perform these tasks within a certain time period, we’re going to fall behind. And things we were talking about that we think we do really well. Clean restrooms, merchandising, the list goes on and on and on.
Eric Chupp: Clean parking lot.
Adam Marshall: You always have the guy with the name tag that was like the year you’re in, like 2018…
Mike Thornbrugh: That was incredible.
Adam Marshall: Getting the power washer out. That’s always out when it’s a new guy or girl, you know, is out power washing. In the cold too!
Mike Thornbrugh: And then we get the phone calls. You know, “Bob just sprayed me down with a hose. I got out of my car, I apologize…”
Eric Chupp: I’m sure it was on purpose.
Mike Thornbrugh: Sometimes it may be!
Eric Chupp: There you go! We need to talk.
Adam Marshall: So do you like ‘Myers Briggs’ your people or something like that. You know, personality profile them. I mean if it’s part of their key performance indicators?
Mike Thornbrugh: We actually, we were starting to do that more and more and more because we figured out a lot of people, they’re really smart and have and but they may be in the wrong job. You know, we have them someplace and are not excelling and we go through all that and see if there’s somewhere else within the company would better suit…
Adam Marshall: You’re going to fuel purchasing or something.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, That happens all the time. I mean, thank God they haven’t done it for me. I don’t know where I’d be quite frankly… I haven’t taken the test yet.
Eric Chupp: I would of ended up in a mental institution. “Well, this guy’s messed up!”
Marshall Morris: I’m just, I’m again, I’m fascinated with the business operations of QuikTrip because they do things that are very much contrarian but that’s also why they’ve been so successful; in other businesses they don’t do it. Can you talk a little bit…? You mentioned some of the leadership now—they started off as store guys, right? Is that an intentional thing that you look to bring in people that are of the culture of QuikTrip and even though they might be very qualified to do a particular job because they don’t have a…Talk a little bit about the culture of QuikTrip and how that relates to promoting and bringing people in.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, and honestly, it’s starting to change on us a little bit, and I’ll get to that, but that is part of the culture; we hire within.
Marshall Morris: Okay.
Eric Chupp: That’s so awesome!
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, we’ve been doing it for 60 years and we can always do it better. But if you’re somebody that comes to the company and we say you have chances to grow and succeed and we’re going to advance you if you work hard and you’re smart, right. And then you look around and say, here comes in a vice president of petroleum or VP or whatever, our manager, this and that, this guy started in the stores 30-40 years ago. And when you have a chairman of the board who started night shifts, who’s now the president of the company, people go, you guys aren’t bullsh*tting this is how it really works. But to be fair, it’s getting so technical now are things that we do. We may not have people that are current employees that can do it. And so we do look outside. If we can’t find anybody inside.
Eric Chupp: I want to touch on something you just said. Marshall, can you break down like the growth versus fixed mindset and who Carol Dweck is and some of that information I know you know so well.
Marshall Morris: So there’s a psychologist—she’s a Stanford psychologist—her name’s Carol Dweck. Okay. And she’s wrote a book called mindset and it talks about the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset. And the fixed mindset says, I was born with a certain set of character traits or or predispositions or biases. I’m introverted, therefore I cannot do sales, or I’m creative, therefore I cannot follow checklists and processes. And Carol Dweck, she maintains that the people with a fixed mindset are never going to go anywhere because they don’t believe they can learn any new skills or develop outside of their predispositions. And she says the people that maintain the growth mindset—the ones that will adapt and have an additional ability to shift cultures or shift abilities or grow in new competitive advantages, those are the ones that will be the most successful. And so is that something that QuikTrip…?
Eric Chupp: It sounds like that’s what you guys do.
Mike Thornbrugh: Is it, and it’s not a secret, is everybody’s business changed dramatically—and ours really is. We no longer compete against just convenience stores; those days are long gone. I mean, we’re competing against everybody who’s a retailer and we know the products that we sell. I mean, they’re not growth categories, majority of them. They’re flat line and some of them are declining. So we don’t figure out other businesses to get into. I mean, who knows? And we’re focused on that a lot. We have no idea what other business that we’re going to get into, but I assure you we’re going to.
Eric Chupp: You know that’s a conversation.
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh, absolutely. On a daily basis, we talk about it.
Eric Chupp: Only the paranoid survive.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah.
Adam Marshall: Well, Darwin was right! I don’t know if you know this but…
Mike Thornbrugh: You always need good attorneys.
Adam Marshall: I in part…
Mike Thornbrugh: I said good, b*tchin good.
Adam Marshall: No, no the debate’s still out, but I mean, I in part blame you/credit you for why this whole alcohol modernization thing blew up because, as you know, and it was Senator Bice who ushered this long. She was the junior senator from Edmond at the, now she’s a senior senator from Edmond and her senior senator is Clark Jolley, uh… Yeah, where’s Clark going off to?
Mike Thornbrugh: I think he’s with the Tax Commission now isn’t he?
Adam Marshall: Tax Commission, yeah, okay. But anyway, I remember when she introduced that bill to sell cold—she said, “I wanted to get a Guinness on the way home.” And her bill was real simple: Let liquor stores sell cold stuff. And that kicked off this big meeting in February of 2015 and I remember my brother and I were down there for One Voice Day at the capitol with the Chamber and you go, “Hey, there’s this meeting at three which was after the”…No, no so you go around the room and go. And the one thing is like we don’t—this is what you said, you maybe won’t remember—”We don’t mind them selling cold beer just let us sell the same beer.” And boom, the industry was on it! But I mean it’s to your point of like we compete with all retailers. Yeah, absolutely.
Mike Thornbrugh: We were waiting for that bill QuikTrip for 10 years to be filed in Oklahoma. We look at the numbers, the numbers weren’t favorable 10 years ago, and they kept getting better and better and better that people went modernization. And I wrote an article for the Tulsa World, which I’m not saying that started all this stuff, you know, criticizing prohibition and how ridiculous that it was and knowing that you had all these young entrepreneurs, I mean, you guys, the Marshall brothers, the Elliot Nelson’s of the world and we’re going, this is stupid, so we need to do something. And she just happened to bring the bill, and you’re right, Adam, that’s exactly what happened. And I’ve never seen a coalition. I figured we’d have a lot of fights and we did, but a coalition overall coalesce and say, let’s just not do this segment. Let’s just open it up for everybody. And I thought that was brilliant, man.
Adam Marshall: Where do you think we need to go from here on that? I mean, we’re just kind of segue into the whole modernization thing because as a brewery, Marshall Brewing company, I mean we went from—as far as off premises, which is take and go—we went from what, 600 and some points a sale to 3000, QuikTrip included. I mean, it’s amazing!
Mike Thornbrugh: Our numbers are up. I mean everybody kept telling us… Because we had been in the industry off premise had 85% of the market share. And everybody said, “Well your numbers are going to go flat and going to go down.” Hell, they’ve gone up, and they’ve gone up because we can now offer all these beers that we couldn’t anymore. And customers say, “I like QuikTrip, but I’m not going to buy beer for you because you don’t have what I want.” So numbers are going up. It’s great!
Eric Chupp: I got an observation on that. Can I shout out to Stephen to just…They need to put an extra order of Sundown Wheat at 96th and Riverside because they are always out. Everybody else is buying it!
Mike Thornbrugh: Well that’s, well a lot of us, we’re still going through some issues with distribution. Which will take time…
Adam Marshall: And we’re still trying to keep too.
Eric Chupp: Market, Eric Chupp! Please show ID. Show ID every time, it’s beer.
Mike Thornbrugh: We have guys that come in that I have this weird soft drink and if we don’t have it, they get pissed off. So we do try to have that kind of stuff in there.
Eric Chupp: I’m teasing, although, you know.
Mike Thornbrugh: Where do we go from here? I think there’s a lot of options. Number one is none of us liked capping the alcohol content at…
Adam Marshall: Oh for beer, like 8.99% line 15%.
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean, I don’t know. We did it because we figured we would deal with it later on, but that’s dumb. There’s a reason to do that. A drink is a drink. We are all going to be responsible retailers. So I hope that’s something that we address. And I mean, I don’t know. There’s things that we can probably—you better than I do, I’ve relied upon you a lot on the law—I read things because I wanted to believe it. You read to me because this is the actual law, Mike, you can’t do that. So there’s things we can do, but I’ll actually give her that cap, I think it’s dumb.
Adam Marshall: Yeah, no, that, that is one thing.
Mike Thornbrugh: Are we slurring yet?
Adam Marshall: No, not yet. I don’t know. Are you?
Mike Thornbrugh: Probably, I don’t know.
Eric Chupp: Let’s get another pitcher going. No.
Mike Thornbrugh: That’s a great idea.
Marshall Morris: So, I wanted to ask you a little bit about you and your role with QuikTrip. And so I think, I think they hear that you’re one of the spokes spokespeople for QuikTrip. What does that mean? What does the day to day? And maybe you can segue into obviously with rolling out high point beer and rolling out beer—cold beer—in QuikTrip with Adam—maybe you guys can talk about how you guys are first met—was it at that meeting in Oklahoma City that you guys first met? Or how has that relationship developed?
Adam Marshall: No, it was through the chamber. We’re involved in the chamber. I was involved as vice president of Marshall Brewing, I was involved in the Small Business Council, which then became the Small Business Connection. Now The Connection, which is the small business wing of the chamber. And one of the reasons we actually got involved in the chamber is because we get into this highly regulated industry in 2008, and we didn’t have any relationships at the level. Now we weren’t going to come out of the gate and go, “Let’s go change the law and then do our business.” Well, there’s so many people saying, “If I could get the law changed, then I’d go into business.” It’s like, let’s make it work, let’s prove concept, and then we’ll go ask for stuff—and it was little stuff. Let’s do sampling. We talked about that in a previous cast, but so we get the sampling. And then so the chamber—I started going to legislative events, started getting to know Mike because they’re big supporters through the chamber of the legislative events—and so it was a couple of years before that we actually got to know each other through chamber stuff—because I will say, regardless of what, you know—we’ve had a lot of value through that. Our Tulsa chamber more so than other chambers in the state in either other chambers and other states.
Mike Thornbrugh: They weren’t unhelpful at all.
Adam Marshall: Well they have a legislative ground game as far as you want to jump on to it…
Mike Thornbrugh: Protectionism.
Adam Marshall: Yeah. Yeah, but they get people involved and get them down to the capitol. But we got to know each other through that. And then you are the one that then tipped us off when we were down there, “Hey there’s an industry meeting in senator Jolley’s conference room, you guys should come.” We ended up being the only craft brewers in the room. I mean you got Miller Coors, ABM Bev. on the phone conferenced in.
Mike Thornbrugh: Central Distribution.
Adam Marshall: You’ve got the big players in this day. You’ve got Grocer’s Association, petroleum marketers, you guys…
Mike Thornbrugh: Do you remember that? We had all these people in that, they’re ranking issues and we’d go around that room and tap people and say, “This is really important for, not only QuikTrip, it’s for Marshalls and the community”, and we’ve got enough votes to make it a priority. I don’t, to this day—if I don’t think we went around a lobby that we’d have enough votes—I think we still would have passed the bill, but we got more people involved in and I think that was pretty cool.
Adam Marshall: Absolutely.
Mike Thornbrugh: I really believe that.
Eric Chupp: That’s crazy.
Mike Thornbrugh: It’s true.
Marshall Morris: And so what is it, what is the day to day look like for you now, Mike? I mean, are you just basically putting out all of the fires for QuikTrip?
Eric Chupp: We know what Friday’s look like. Cheers to that.
Adam Marshall: Well, talk about your week. You had to go up in DC this week.
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh yeah man, I got out of the chaos and I don’t want talk about that…
Adam Marshall: Well, you don’t have to.
Eric Chupp: Cut! All right. We’re done…Mike come back!
Mike Thornbrugh: And I got on Facebook, which I’m not really good at, I said get me the hell out of here, I’m done. It’s like everything else at QuikTrip, it would just happen. I gave a speech one time and I did it without notes—whether or not it was very good, I really don’t know—but Chester Cadieux, who has passed away and was president of QuikTrip for many, many years—heard me give a speech. Right? And I was doing some consulting work for them and the old office building that we had, I was in her getting a cup of coffee and he was… Another guy walked in and he put my hand and—Mike Stanford’s his name—and Mike’s hand, he goes, this is our new PR guy. And I turned to Chester or I don’t know sh*t about PR. And as he’s stirring his coffee, he just looks at me and he goes, “You will.” And he walked away.
Eric Chupp: Yes! I love stories like that!
Mike Thornbrugh: And I’m going…
Marshall Morris: Oh my gosh, that’s incredible.
Mike Thornbrugh: “Okay. I have a gift to talk, Chester, but I don’t…” So what he did then is he had me work in the stores and with every department to learn the business. My days are never planned because when you do, we’re open 24 hours a day and you have almost 800 locations and you have 23–24,000 employees, I never know what the hell, something’s going to happen at some point—and the media calls all the time for a lot of reasons. Number one, we pick the phone up—I don’t think most people do. Two, I mean, they’re customers.
Adam Marshall: An actual voice call?
Eric Chupp: I don’t know what to do. I didn’t expect you to answer.
Adam Marshall: I’m talking to another human now?
Eric Chupp: Hey can I text you? What’s your cell phone?
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean, they do! They’ve got my cell number. I’m eating thanksgiving dinner and go—and I go do a man on the street story up here at, at 11th and Utica—and I’m going, “Seriously, dude? I mean, let me… Okay, let’s do it.” I mean, we try to accommodate. It’s pure luck. But here’s the deal—and I’m sincere about this—it’s not me talking. I’m talking for 23,000 people. So I mean, I gotta be spot on, I gotta be accurate, and I gotta be factual and people trust us. And so we appreciate that.
Marshall Morris: And so you’ve had the unique privilege to work and know Chester and Chet. Can you maybe describe some of the success characteristics of those two? Because I would imagine that they do some things that are unique to them that maybe other business owners or other people might not do or what have you observed?
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, no, Chet’s going to get mad at me about this because he never likes to talk about himself; it’s all about the company. The two main things that come to my mind is compassion for the employees and the passion for the company. They both have that… I mean Chester again passed away a couple of years ago, but they have that passion. But there are different styles. Chet obviously, the high tech, the intellect, the wit; they don’t have an ego. If you have an ego at QuikTrip, you’re gone. It doesn’t matter who you are. We don’t put up with that sh*t at all. Don’t take yourself serious, but they take the company serious. There’s more to it than that. But really the passion and the compassion element, which I don’t think a lot of CEOs have and you have theory x, theory y and all your economic theories; it’s just passion for the people, passion for what we do, and the compassion makes it happen. And I’m not sure that’s a good answer, but it’s sincere.
Adam Marshall: But it reminds me, one of the quotes I like about leadership and we talk about leadership development and all that. And I—I don’t know who it’s attributed to, but it talks about to lead people walk beside them. It says, “As for the best leaders, people don’t acknowledge their existence. As for the next best, the people love. The next best, the people fear. The next best leaders, the people hate. When the best leaders work is done, the people say we did it ourselves.” And that’s an orientation to leadership that I think is very important when your employees are your assets.
Mike Thornbrugh: And that’s… And thank you. I mean that’s a really important… Nobody pays a part to that ledger that I think employees are, you know, a burden to us or an asset. But I want to tell you this story, with Chester—this is back in the old days in the old building.
Eric Chupp: I was literally about to ask you if you have any favorite stories with QuikTrip.
Mike Thornbrugh: I got a million, but I’ll tell you the beer story. We used to call Chester’s walk-about—this is Friday, about three o’clock. You know, Chester’s coming by to say hi and what a great guy and he was sincere about that. But he also wanted to see if you were working. I mean the guy was a master and he’s the only guy, if you’re doing a bad job, he didn’t have to tell you. He look at you at and try to help you in the way he would word things going, “I need to do better without him being critical.” And Chet’s the same way. They’re really, really good. I’m just going to tell you one more story about beer.
Eric Chupp: Please, let’s tell five stories. I love it.
Mike Thornbrugh: QuikTrip many, many years ago, we had our own brand “Quittin Time Beer”.
Eric Chupp: Really?!
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh yeah. And I used to drink in college because number one, it was cheap as hell, and I didn’t develop a palette back then, so it was okay.
Adam Marshall: Is that what killed Lamar?
Mike Thornbrugh: Well…
Adam Marshall: When you talk about Lamar, I want to know about Lamar. But anyway, the beer?
Mike Thornbrugh: It was a cheap beer. Right? The inexpensive and we had our name on it. Sold a lot of it. But we found out that it was illegal; you couldn’t transport it over the state lines. We didn’t know that. So you know, the life of “Quittin Time” after about three or four or five years went away, and then his Lamar story used to have these ads, and Lamar was a dog—the best dog you could ever have. By the way the dog’s name was Felix.
Adam Marshall: Oh, really? Okay.
Mike Thornbrugh: I didn’t think, we didn’t think Felix would go over really well. So they’re drinking this beer and Lamar runs off with a six pack of “Quittin Time Beer”. Right? If we did that today, I mean animal rights activists and everybody will shut us down, but I mean the ads worked. It was just magic.
Adam Marshall: But I just remember those, “Ain’t that right? Lamar?”
Mike Thornbrugh: That was crazy. That dog put us on the damn map. Nobody knew who QuikTrip was, but they knew who Lamar was.
Adam Marshall: A lot of people don’t remember the Cooley puppets.
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh God. You remember those?
Adam Marshall: Oh my god, I love the Cooley puppets!
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh my god, we’re aging ourselves!
Adam Marshall: Cooley’s then became Freezoney’s.
Mike Thornbrugh: Well, here’s why.
Adam Marshall: Some trademark thing I’m sure.
Mike Thornbrugh: Well, it wasn’t trademark deal, but the other deal is the guys that we had hired work on that passed away, and we didn’t have anybody else that could fix a cooling machines, plus—all right, I’m gonna admit it to you—it had a lot of air in it, and now the new drinks have actually got liquid. So we think the new drink is better. That’s a truth.
Adam Marshall: I want to know who’s got the Cooley puppets. I’d like to find them in like a storage. No, seriously. Like find them in a storage…
Mike Thornbrugh: We can’t believe you remember though.
Adam Marshall: Well, maybe we can work on that.
Eric Chupp: I feel like I remember this!
Adam Marshall: “We’re were looking for the coolie puppets. We need them for a museum.” We’ll mistreat him for a while and then give him some Tulsa museum.
Mike Thornbrugh: That was my fear is ending up on youtube with all kinds of profanity on them.
Adam Marshall: They look like muppets!
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, they were pretty sh*tty.
Eric Chupp: I’m the gear change. I want to change gears again. Can you tell us a little bit about where you’re from and kind of how you grew up and, and what’s, what’s the pre-QuikTrip story?
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, I mean, I was born in Wichita, Kansas and
Eric Chupp: Wi-Chee-Tah!
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah! And my dad was an oil and gas kind of guy, and we moved to Tulsa in 1965. So I pretty much have grown up here.
Eric Chupp: Okay, okay. What part of town?
Mike Thornbrugh: Ah east side. I’m an east side boy. On 5th and Garnett.
Eric Chupp: My parents went to East Central.
Mike Thornbrugh: I went to East Central!
Eric Chupp: Did you? What year?
Mike Thornbrugh: I graduated at 1977 without honors, I may add, but I got out.
Eric Chupp: I don’t know what year my parents graduated, but my dad’s probably 62–63.
Mike Thornbrugh: so they lay off 59. We’re about to deliver.
Eric Chupp: His name is, and my dad’s name is Perry Chupp, and my mom’s name was Nancy White at the time.
Mike Thornbrugh: I grew up on 5th and Garnett.
Eric Chupp: Okay. I don’t know where they lived back then, but I know they went to East Central. So, small world and it must’ve been…
Mike Thornbrugh: Everybody knows everybody in Tulsa, right?
Eric Chupp: I’ve heard a lot of stories about east central back then.
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh, they’re all true. What we can remember back in the day, right?
Eric Chupp: Yeah, that’s funny.
Mike Thornbrugh: But have we used to have smoke holes for God sakes.
Eric Chupp: He told me about these!
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean, I had a lot of vices, but I never did smoke cigarettes. Right? So, I pretty much grew up in Tulsa. Went to the University of Tulsa, moved away for a couple of years, and after a period of time, came back and married my college sweetheart. We went our separate ways for six or seven years. Just by chance. I picked up the phone and called her and she, I don’t know, it just happened. So I’m pretty much a Tulsa guy. And I love it here. It’s a great community.
Eric Chupp: What did you do for work before you got involved… How long have you been with QuikTrip?
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh, actually I’ll be 24 years in February. I actually was in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. I got elected in 1992 and I left voluntarily in 2008.
Eric Chupp: You said that a minute ago.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, I probably was shaking Chester down for a check or something like that and I got out of him. It was fun and all that hopefully they did some good things, but that wasn’t my calling. And I just happened to run into Chester, like he did Bert Holmes back in the 50s and said, “Hey, what do you think about this?” And it took him a long time before he bought into right place. Right time, man. I’m lucky I ran into him.
Adam Marshall: What’s—so early nineties in the legislature in Oklahoma—what’s different? Is there anything, materially different?
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, there’s a lot.
Adam Marshall: Because a lot of these cats that have served in the national and say, “Yeah, we all used to hang out together. Now we’re not even allowed to each other.”
Mike Thornbrugh: No, that’s true. Yeah, you had your partisan fights—I mean, that’s always been going on since inception of politics—but I learned a lot because I mean I didn’t grew up in rural areas and predominantly there were Democrats back then and I learned a lot about them. I learned about their concerns where we made friends, we worked on things that we could, and nothing was really personal. I mean, you really argued over the issues—you got into fights, don’t get me wrong—you got into fights, you got it over with. You can collaborate on what you could do. And a lot of good stuff came from it. They don’t do that today. Either party.
Eric Chupp: They’re totally different.
Mike Thornbrugh: They really do, and it’s a shame.
Adam Marshall: It’s a zero sum game.
Mike Thornbrugh: It really is!
Adam Marshall: And that’s too bad.
Mike Thornbrugh: I accept, okay. Both parties, we’ve got, you know, beer motorization language done so maybe, for a brief period of time, the adult beverage brought them altogether. We’ll see.
Adam Marshall: Did you ever think, I mean I think you, you at some point in time we’d eliminate three-two beer—I saw it coming. But in 2018, around the same time that we’re enacting the elimination of three-two beer, we’re also regulating medical marijuana in Oklahoma. I mean I would have told you three years ago you are full of sh*t. There’s no way!
Mike Thornbrugh: Well here and actually here’s my fear. Kansas, we operate in Kansas to finally we got it done after it took me 24 years, get that passed with a lot of help, and I was fearful they’d have legalization of marijuana before we got rid of three-two beer in Kansas. That’s how crazy it is.
Marshall Morris: I’m going to come in hot, hot with the next question. Okay, all right. So, Mike, I want to ask you—and this is a hot topic because I’ve started seeing all of these articles pop up all over the Internet, okay?
Mike Thornbrugh: Alrighty.
Marshall Morris: Can you explain to me the articles that I’m seeing about arming QuikTrip employees and what you can and can’t tell us about that and maybe set the record straight because…
Eric Chupp: Are we talking nunchucks…
Marshall Morris: Yeah, nunchucks or brass knuckles or what?
Adam Marshall: Dude, if you could put like a nunchuck rack in each QuikTrip. Like if you come in and put your nunchucks, we may oil the bearings for you…
Eric Chupp: Nunchuck maintenance station!
Adam Marshall: But we also have somebody armed with nunchucks, but we’re talking about something else.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah. Here’s the deal.
Adam Marshall: I’m sorry! I think an oil-your-nunchuck-bearing service…
Eric Chupp: Don’t Google that!
Adam Marshall: Yeah if you got chain nunchucks, but if you got roped nunchucks, that’s fine too!
Eric Chupp: You can use some oil.
Mike Thornbrugh: Speaking of nunchucks… No, we have—it is not new, we’ve done this for a very long time—we hire private security companies to help us out from time to time. And we also hire off-duty law officers to help us from time to time at certain stores cause you need it. I mean there were some stores where you have people that just do dumb things from time to time. So, we’d like to do everything we can internally. All right? So we thought about it. What if we can hire people that we call QuikTrip employees that have all the credentials and have all the skills and training that’s out there. That way we know they’re reliable, they know that they fit into our culture, and that’s kind of where—I mean it went all over the map like you did on the news. Certain companies use it for fundraising, for their associations and stuff like that. That’s why we’re doing it; it’s just another element of security for our employees and customers. That’s really all it is.
Marshall Morris: And so were bringing it in and it’s to add, rather than hire other companies, we want to bring it in and so that we maybe we can control the culture and the people inside.
Mike Thornbrugh: That’s what it’s all about is the culture. Now the way we look at it, and it’s not rocket science, it’s really like community policing, if you will. Again, we talked about people come to our stores that are habituals, this is where they go. When they see somebody with authority and you treat them with respect and you talk to them people feel comfortable, and they’re less likely to do something dumb. And really what we’re doing it for is for shoplifting, the loitering and panhandling; those types of things. And we tried it and tested it in Wichita. That store’s just great.
Adam Marshall: So this isn’t a backend for like some sort of like QuikTrip defense force or QuikTrip’s private swat team.
Mike Thornbrugh: But I’ll tell you, it’s crazy. We had thousands and thousands of resumes come in from…
Eric Chupp: I can imagine. You have a good culture. People want to work there.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, that’s going to be the hard part. I mean we can find people have credentials or license and all that, but they have to fit our culture. If they don’t fit our culture, we’re not going to do it cause then it’s a waste of time and effort for everybody.
Adam Marshall: Now, are these cleat trained people you’re looking for?
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, absolutely.
Adam Marshall: Absolutely.
Mike Thornbrugh: They went through a whole list of stuff, which I didn’t even know that people had that, that we’re looking for and they all have it. And I’ve met a lot of them that are going through training right now in the stores, learning how we operate, how we do things and they’re going to be great. I’m looking forward to it.
Eric Chupp: Cool to hear you talk about it because one of the things that—you know when Marshall and I are working with our clients as a business coach, we teach, when you’re hiring—you need to let the people know that yes, we want you to be a good fit for us obviously. But we also want to be a good fit for you and with your guys’ internal kind of promotion, attitude and growth attitude, I just think that’s so cool.
Mike Thornbrugh: No, I mean it’s, we don’t know any different. That’s what we set out to do. And it’s wokred for us…
Eric Chupp: Well, look at it from the employee mindset, right? From being empathetic with their point of view. Do you want to go work for a company who, you know, you’re just a cognitive wheel and there’s no room for growth or a company…
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, you wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it.
Eric Chupp: I wouldn’t do it! A players aren’t going to do that. They want to go see a place where they can invest and know that they’ll be invested in. And so that’s—to be honest—just the whole experience is awesome at QuikTrip. But I kind of know about that about you guys. So I want to go shop there. I want to spend my money there because I know that’s how it is.
Mike Thornbrugh: You know the story. I just love it when you bring it up. I mean, I piss off our employees a lot because…
Eric Chupp: You pee all over the wall!
Mike Thornbrugh: I like—I mean, everybody specializes in whatever—I like to face up product, so when I’m killing time and walking around, I face up all their product and a lot of them, they don’t know who I am. Well, why would they? There’s a silver haired guy again, turning the bottles with the labels out. “He’s here again, sir. Can you come get him?”
Eric Chupp: That’s funny. I’ve got a question for you. I was wondering if QuikTrip has any like involvement in the community. Are there any community projects or kind of give backs that you guys do to local communities?
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean the local deal is obviously here in Tulsa…
Eric Chupp: Obviously helping people get hired and get good jobs. That’s an awesome thing in itself.
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh yeah, I mean the Gathering Place was a big deal for us. The hard part for us, we want to try to be consistent. So what we do in Tulsa, we wouldn’t do the same thing in Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix, or whatever. So United Way, we’re really big on for several reasons. One is we can all participate in it and number two is that they’re the experts, not us. And a lot of things and, and people that they serve, we know need the help. We’re big on that, big on what’s called folds of honor. I mean again, they brought us something we were looking for. We try to do big things like that because if not your dollars go out to everywhere and we really don’t know if it does any good or not. But those things that we can, we can control it, and we get involved in.
Marshall Morris: Well is being heavily involved in Tulsa—that’s one of the things that I believe that we all share in common is we’re operating out of Tulsa. We like Tulsa. What changes have you seen in Tulsa on a macro level things that you’re excited about, things that are helping spur the growth to Tulsa, and now we have so many reasons why people are coming to move here. I would say QuikTrip, being the primary factor why people are moving to Tulsa, you know, but what have you seen in Tulsa over the years?
Mike Thornbrugh: Which this may strike you guys as odd is we really love, even though we only have one store downtown, we love to see the rehabilitation downtown.
Eric Chupp: Oh come on! Preach. I love it!
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean, you do. It’s a new world, new day, people living down there. Those kinds of things—and more people, they want walkability they go, “Well, we sell gasoline. Why would we care about that?” We do because we understand that is where everything is headed and we want to be part of it. There are things that were really disappointed in, but we’d rather focus on the good things. But I think Tulsa’s got along way to go. QuikTrip thinks Tulsa has a long way to go, and we want to be there to help and there are a lot of great things happening.
Marshall Morris: I have you seen—your a music guy, you like music—have you been to any concerts either recently or local venues, things that gotten you excited or maybe you heard about that you think have been a big deal?
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean, because of my kid, I mean some of the venues I’m never even heard of that are downtown. Right? And there’s 10 of us and 15 of us in the audience. I love every minute of it and people come up to me and my wife, “You’re the cutest old couple that we’ve seen.” Well, sh*t we’re the only one couple that you’ve seen here.
Eric Chupp: A backhanded compliment. Right?
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean, we’d like to go experience groups that we’ve never heard of and my wife—I’m sorry, I’ve got to say this—bought me tickets for John Mellencamp.
Everyone: The Cougar! Johnny Cougar!
Mike Thornbrugh: So I mean, I’m doing that. I don’t do a lot of the BOK stuff, with their big bands and all that. I still kind of liked the small venues; people cutting their chops and trying to make it. To me, that’s impressive. I like that.
Eric Chupp: You ever go to Soul City?
Mike Thornbrugh: I have not been there. I know where it is. Have you played there?
Eric Chupp: We haven’t played there. But are they doing Blue’s Day Tuesday still?
Marshall Morris: I think they’re still doing Blue’s Day Tuesday…
Eric Chupp: We should all meet up. They have some amazing tacos…
Mike Thornbrugh: I’m in.
Adam Marshall: My wife and I love that place. How have we never met there before?
Eric Chupp: Yeah, the indoor and outdoor venue. They have a store, they have a full restaurant, full bar.
Marshall Morris: Tallows, Tallows needs to go reach out to them.
Mike Thornbrugh: They played at some coffee shop, I forget the name of it, but about a year ago, and I loved it. Oh yeah. I mean, I mean, I’m really sincere. I liked it. You know, you have 10, 20, 30 people you never heard of—you guys know better than I do how hard it is that business. You know those guys and gals that cut their chops and experiment.
Eric Chupp: They’re hustlin.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, they’re hustlers! They’re entrepreneurs! I love it!
Marshall Morris: Give us the best pitch for Tallows that you can. If somebody’s like, “I want to check them out.” What type of person would like their music or want to learn about them?
Mike Thornbrugh: I’m not sure that there’s a group that I really can compare them to. Their lead singer, Josh, has got one of the most unique voices I’ve ever heard—kind of Getty leave it better than a Getty leave, if you will. Uh,
Adam Marshall: That’s unique.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, it is a little different ins’t it?
Adam Marshall: No, but give it up for Rush.
Mike Thornbrugh: They refused to do any cover songs, which I admire; why play somebody else’s music? The best thing I can say is they’re just on rhythm and they feed off each other really well. You watch their body language…
Eric Chupp: Chemistry.
Mike Thornbrugh: You watch their body language and their facial movements and these kids love playing together, and to me that’s great music and…
Eric Chupp: That’s awesome. You can tell, right?
Mike Thornbrugh: You can tell they enjoy playing music.
Eric Chupp: Very cool. Very cool.
Mike Thornbrugh: Buy Tallows’ CD’s by the way. Okay? There’s my plug again.
Marshall Morris: It’s T. A. L. L. O. W. S. Okay. Very cool. Now I want to, I want to breach the subject and get your insight maybe from the QuikTrip perspective or maybe just the Mike Thornbrugh perspective…
Mike Thornbrugh: QuikTrip is more important.
Marshall Morris: If you can or can’t take it there. But one of the recent things—and, Adam, I want to get your take on this too—but cannabis in Oklahoma. What is going on and what is the future of cannabis in Oklahoma? I mean are we going to ultimately—right now it’s approved for medical marijuana—are we going to see that continue to change over time?
Eric Chupp: When will it be next to cigarettes in QuikTrip? That’s what we’re asking.
Mike Thornbrugh: I’m gonna let Adam go first…
Marshall Morris: And then you’ll pile on…
Mike Thornbrugh: Because it’s a big topic within the industry. It really is.
Adam Marshall: I’m gonna… And I think the answer is we’ll know more after this next session because the legislature has not had a chance to—the Oklahoma legislature has not had a chance—to react.
Eric Chupp: What is that session? What is that timeline? 2019?
Adam Marshall: Well, the session starts at the end of January, 2019. What is it? The last week of January?
Mike Thornbrugh: First week of February, it officially starts.
Adam Marshall: Now behind the scenes there have been bills floating around basically everything from rewriting the whole thing because this wasn’t a constitutional amendment. This was a statutory referendum—referendum initiative petitions—which means that it begs for, I think as the set for 180 days, but then the legislature can go back and revisit it—don’t quote me on that, but it’s some sort of procedure like that quote and so yeah,
Mike Thornbrugh: You’re live, Adam.
Adam Marshall: I think we’re going to know more because I know people from Oklahoma that actually got involved a little bit in as investors in the Arkansas medical marijuana—a much different set of laws. The way it sets up a market, they actually limit or what eventually turns out commoditizing the license. Only five cultivation licenses. Only 30 dispensary licenses. We don’t have any of that in Oklahoma. And it’s like the wild west. A lot of people call it…
Eric Chupp: People shooting people!
Adam Marshall: A lot of people called the bill, or the state question in the statute, recreational light. And it pretty loose. I mean, but no real conditions you had a tie it to and anything which I think that there’s going to be a course correction in the legislature this session, but how far it can go is going to be really interesting because when you’re sitting there as a legislator and you go, people pass this pretty overwhelmingly for a question like that—I’m mean what was it in the 65%. I mean it pretty much it really is a mandate. And so when they do that and then you really are going to have legislators who come from districts that overwhelmingly voted no for it feel emboldened to go, you know, protect, protect the cause of, of, of prohibition out there. But then you also have the pro business legislators whose district supported it talk about, well we want to do pro business and that’s that. That may be code for, we are going to let people with money rewrite the laws so they can put barrier stand tree out there and actually create a market. So we’ve got one side where it’s really just a free for all and that’s right now. But then we’ve got another side that I think is going to be pushed for on limiting licenses. Those kinds of things. We’ll just have to see. That’s the best I can do. But from an industry—you know, like a convenience and stores standpoint…
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, it’s a big issue that’s being discussed, and obviously with Canada legalizing recreational marijuana, we’ve watched and have talked to a lot of—I’m on a lot of associations that deal with that, it’s coming. Recreational marijuana is coming. If you’re a company like QuikTrip that sells a lot of age sensitive items, we’re really damn good at it. We know what we’re doing. And we’d like to see a universal law instead of this patchwork stuff that’s going on.
Eric Chupp: So you know what to do.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, we know what to do. We know the responsibilities with or not will we do it? Who knows? But we talking about it, of course we are.
Marshall Morris: I would say that that’s true of many retailers is a lot of retailers they want to get in and they want to begin starting to sell alcohol or sell, you know, whatever that is. But they don’t have the infrastructure to do it and so you’re saying that’s something…
Mike Thornbrugh: Or the experience quite frankly to do it.
Marshall Morris: Right. And you’re saying that’s something that QuikTrip, you feel, is—that’s a competitive advantage. We know how to do it.
Mike Thornbrugh: We, yeah, we, I mean, look, let’s face it…
Eric Chupp: Can I see your ID? I’m 34 and I’ve got grey in my beard—I still have to show my ID.
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean, it’s controversial, but not as much as it was 5, 10, and certainly 20 years ago. It’s coming. I mean, what Adam was talking about that, we have more rules and regulations to sell you a damn beer than it appears to have or at least medical marijuana. And I don’t get that. So it’s coming. There’s a long way to go and my hope is… We don’t know if we ever will, but we ought to have the opportunity. So when they write laws, we may decide if it becomes legal 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road. We think long term. That’s a really great point man. That’s a fun deal.
Eric Chupp: Yeah, well and on that we were talking before we started recording about how has this whole legalization of marijuana affected like you know, beer consumption or beer sales or brewery operation?
Adam Marshall: You know, early on before the great experiment as I say, really started, which was Colorado, in recreation. Us in the craft industry—and I’m going to separate craft from, from big from non-craft—non-craft is predominantly represented by the beer institute on a national level. But you know, I was having having dinner with a representative, the actually the in house counsel at the time from the beer institute and this was at the craft brewers conference right before Colorado went recreational. It was, it had been voted and it was the phase in and I said, “Hey, that’s an alternative product to what is the same in a lot of ways, the same demographic. Are we concerned about it?” I think we are, I mean is somebody going to opt for a sick pack or are they going to just say, “Well no, I’m going to go get an eighth.” And the beer institute, yeah, they were concerned about it too. But what we’ve seen in Colorado and Oregon—and Washington state—which are three of the biggest craft beer markets—is that it really hasn’t had that big of an impact because people will still maybe divert some of their funds or their disposable cash to that but at the same time, there’s still going to have something to drink. No. They might sit down and chill out and have a hit out in their bowl, but they’re going to want to have a good craft beer. So we’re still craft beer still has it’s affordable luxury status, you know. But the medical marijuana it, so it hasn’t, I mean we need some more years of data, but right now we’re not seeing that it’s cannibalized, if you will.
Eric Chupp: ‘Cannabisized’
Adam Marshall: It hasn’t. ‘Cannabisized’ craft beer sales.
Eric Chupp: Did we just come up with something right there?
Mike Thornbrugh: Let me tag on to Adam’s line without naming names. A lot of the beer guys that we talked to over the past years, recreational marijuana and medical marijuana scared the hell out of them because they really believe is going to cut into their sales. Which is interesting though—take it a step further—one beer company has—how many billions do they spend in Canada trying to get right. So it’s coming. These guys—and I don’t mean this in a bad way—they’re not dumb. They’ll get in on the ground floor and invest in it because if they believe their products are going to stagnate and sales will decline, they’re going to find something to fill that void.
Adam Marshall: What’s a core competence of some of these big beer companies that have, but for DOJ intervention, vertically integrated into logistics and national distribution. Shoot, Canada goes open nationally, that’s when it becomes a national game, and that’s a force actually working against…
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, I agree
Adam Marshall: Against the states, because states are regulating marijuana is that state sees fit, but if you come in and de-schedule things at the federal level in Monsanto starts buying everybody out and on the cultivation side and then you know, Philip Morris or ABM Bev. or something like that says, “We’re going to funnel this through our logistics and we’re going to buy the rights.” I mean then you take it out of local control because while you may have local government control, if you’ve got big companies nationally…
Eric Chupp: Follow the money Labowski!
Adam Marshall: If you’ve go big companies nationally controlling that, they come in and they really control…
Mike Thornbrugh: And I get the 10th amendment state rights and all that, but again, when you’re a retailer, you deal in age-sensitive items. You want uniformity. You don’t want to have a whole different set of laws from XYZ..
Eric Chupp: The opposite of ambiguity!
Mike Thornbrugh: We’re in 11 states. We want to be the same.
Adam Marshall: You make a great point that I make with people all the time. It’s like alcohol is the one area—where people who are all about no federal, we want all state control, all state control—Alcohol’s the one area where we actually amended our Constitution with the 21st amendment, gave the broadest police power to the states, do whatever you want. We didn’t even know till 2003 whether or not the interstate commerce clause trumped the 21st amendment—in the non-Trump sense—but whether an audit trumped the 21st amendment—the commerce clause, which says you can’t discriminate on interstate commerce, and so we, we got that ruling out of the Supreme Court. But, but still, I mean I like uniform laws like the Uniform Commercial Code; banking, securing collateral. I mean states can put their own little flavor on, but there’s a uniform laws. It has helps commerce flow internationally. But I will tell you the burden—other than transportation, the regulatory burden to taking our beer, Marshall beer, to Arkansas—is basically the same as taking it to China. It’s like going to a different country. It’s crazy. It’s crazy because what, what the other side of that is, what happened is when prohibition was repealed in states ratified it—or like Oklahoma, we never ratified the 21st amendment—we didn’t actually didn’t repeal prohibition until 1959. It was written in our constitution. But what happened is, is then a few interests, few families in Oklahoma get control of the distribution system and it stays that way. That’s not necessarily good for competition.
Mike Thornbrugh: Can I do an Oklahoma legislative story based on that.
Eric Chupp: Maybe two!
Mike Thornbrugh: I wasn’t there, I was born this year. When they did repeal, you know, probation of Oklahoma back in the day you didn’t have tote boards where you had green lights and red lights, you know, you had to get up and do a role call. Okay. And there was a gentleman here in Tulsa by the name of Dick Wheatley, he was a house member, freshmen from Venita, Oklahoma and Mr Wheatley got up and he was the 51st vote that voted aye. So he claims that he’s the guy that changed prohibition of Oklahoma. But it gets better than that. You could also…would anybody like to change their vote? Well, another gentleman got up and said, “I’d like to change from a nay to an aye” and guess what his name was before Wheatley. So he got credit for change in law. True Story.
Marshall Morris: Gosh, that’s amazing.
Mike Thornbrugh: That’s true.
Eric Chupp: I bet he was pissed!
Mike Thornbrugh: Yes. He was pissed off. He’s still pissed off today!
Adam Marshall: There are a lot of people that are still around. I mean from when that actually happened in Oklahoma and they’re talking about, because when we were repealed prohibition, it was just packaged stores only. We still didn’t get to get it right, but like Byron’s liquor warehouse, which is down just next to the capitol. I mean they put a gun turret on top of that. No, they did! Sand bags and everything because there had been threats to Byron’s for actually opening up and I mean, you talk, there’s some ABLE commission agents and former agents that are around and r and r. W I went to a conference, a local conference a few years ago talking about
Eric Chupp: What is ABLE?
Adam Marshall: The Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission.
Mike Thornbrugh: Constitutional by the state of Oklahoma.
Adam Marshall: Was constitutional, not Anymore, but talk about how there was a gun turret on there. I mean, this was a huge deal. Oklahoma came into the union at statehood 2007 with prohibition written into our Constitution. I think we were the only state that had that and while we got three-two beer, which was considered non intoxicating,
Mike Thornbrugh: It was a food product.
Adam Marshall: It was a food product under FDR.
Eric Chupp: Hey this may be anecdotal, but that’s not true.
Adam Marshall: What!?
Eric Chupp: Yeah, I mean my experience with three-two beer… You drink enough it will mess you up!
Adam Marshall: No, and maybe you were in the legislature at the time but it wasn’t until 1995… It was 95 when non-intoxicating was before we got the term low-point beer and non-intoxicating.
Mike Thornbrugh: And we were really progressive then we changed it from low-point to… High-point.
Eric Chupp: Very forward thinking. Creative.
Adam Marshall: But yeah, the three-two system had non-intoxicating beverage and even the constitution is still said non-intoxicating but statutorily we change it to a low point because the highway commission testified, I think around the time, he said, “Yeah a lot of these vehicular things involving alcohol or are due to a non-intoxicating beverage.
Marshall Morris: Are due to this food product.
Mike Thornbrugh: It really was!
Adam Marshall: But you still have a lot of states that are like that. Like West Virginia still defines anything under 12% as non-intoxicating. And the only reason we looked, I know about that, is that Marshall University in Huntington, when they’ve come through and played the University of Tulsa, people discover the beer and say, “We got to get in West Virginia”, and we go on look and it’s like there are some weird laws there. It’s too far away as a market. But yeah, anything under 12% at that point in time, it may have changed what is considered non-intoxicating.
Mike Thornbrugh: We’d rent these buses to go watch us get creamed again by Arkansas University, and we stopped by liquor store and pull up the luggage deals and load it up with all this six point Bud and all that. And you’re going, “There are no six point Bud”, but everybody bought into it and I can taste the difference and I’m going…
Eric Chupp: Man, I’ve only had four! Oh my god!
Adam Marshall: That’s because you were drinking all the way over to Fayetteville on the bus.
Mike Thornbrugh: That’s true. I forgot about that.
Adam Marshall: In fact, it’s funny, we sat down with my dad last night and he’s a 73–74 grad. He was talking about going over to Fayetteville on the buses and people bring in five gallons of trash can punch and he’s selling Boone’s Farm cases that he bought to people. You know what I mean? It’s crazy and all sorts of trouble.
Mike Thornbrugh: Oh god, to be young again.
Marshall Morris: So I got a couple more questions for you…
Eric Chupp: I got one more too.
Marshall Morris: Okay. So I’ll go, Eric will go, and then we’ll close up here. But one of the questions I want to ask is five years down the road, 10 years down the road is what partnerships that—I mean can you say, or maybe shouldn’t say—what partners would you like…
Eric Chupp: But do anyways.
Marshall Morris: But to anyways—would you like to see between QuikTrip and other parties? And so we asked this question a lot of of the musicians that we talk with is, “Who would you like to collaborate with or who would you like to work with?” For QuikTrip, where do you see that going? Or where would you like to see maybe a partnership developed between QuikTrip and another party?
Mike Thornbrugh: I’m not going to point to your question, but I’m going to kind of answer it this way.
Marshall Morris: That’s fair. That’s fair.
Eric Chupp: You were a politician at one point.
Mike Thornbrugh: But I wasn’t a very good one. There’s a big difference. We talked about, we know that we have to change because everything is changing. And what we like to do is we, and we understand we don’t have all the good ideas for God’s sakes. So we’d like to see and look at people have good ideas, they have good products and we, quite frankly, we like to bring them in house and see if we can do them better. We really concentrate a lot on that. But now the other sincere side of it is, “I don’t know”, but we are looking at changing—that’s not a secret. And we know where we’ll be doing a lot of things differently. Our different products, different companies, 5, 10, 15 years down the road. We know we’re headed that direction. You have to or you’re not going to make it in today’s world.
Adam Marshall: Well, with everybody trying to solve the last mile problem, you’re on the last mile I mean you’re like a stop on the last mile. I mean where does that go for QuikTrip?
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean you think about it. Okay, we think great locations when we sell these products to…
Eric Chupp: And they’re getting better. You’re buying next door. You’re expanding. Like it’s awesome, yeah.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, if the world changes, we still own these properties and we still have these great people, so who knows where we’ll be 10, 15, 20…
Eric Chupp: The world is QuikTrip’s oyster!
Adam Marshall: Tired of package these? We’ll have an Amazon locker for you.
Eric Chupp: Deliver to QuikTrip!
Adam Marshall: Come in, get a get a egg roll, pick up your…..
Mike Thornbrugh: People still need something to eat, that’s not going to change. People still like…
Eric Chupp: Need somewhere to poop!
Mike Thornbrugh: People still need something to drink, right? That’s not going to change. So we have those two things and we have the locations, and we have the people. So we think, regardless where we end up, we got a lot of those things solved. Now we’ve got, now we’ve got to figure out what to do about that.
Adam Marshall: What about high speed charging stations for the coming electric wave?
Mike Thornbrugh: Well we looked at the.. And I mean they’re going to come. Electric cars are coming and we know it, but the question is how quickly and what type of penetration? I don’t know. Right now we’re not real hip about putting them in because why should we have everybody go ahead and set it into place for an hour and an hour and a half
Adam Marshall: When they can do it at their house.
Mike Thornbrugh: And I can’t even charge you for the electricity. I mean we’re paying for it so the electric companies can get the benefit. But you get me on a tangent now.
Adam Marshall: Sorry. Sorry.
Eric Chupp: Way to go, Adam!
Adam Marshall: I need another beer. I’ve had it.
Eric Chupp: Okay, so that’s pretty apt of Marshall to look to the future because I want to go the other way with it. If you could go back 20, 30 years and talk to yourself, have lunch with yourself, what would that look like? What would you tell yourself? Kind of what would you bring up and say, “Hey, this is what you should do. You shouldn’t do.” What would that look like?
Adam Marshall: Stay away from this.
Eric Chupp: The Snug-cast!
Mike Thornbrugh: Don’t answer that question would be the first thing. We’re okay making mistakes and it’s a really weird way for a company to say it: mistakes are good because we make them all the time. So, I don’t know if we’d go back and say, my God, if we would have done this and thought about this because nobody does. We’re really methodical. We take our time probably more than what we should and we’re, and we’re cognizant of that. But failure’s okay in our vocabulary,
Adam Marshall: First attempt in learning: fail.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, we do it all the time. I promise you we doing it today somewhere right now.
Eric Chupp: On this podcast.
Mike Thornbrugh: Yeah, what am I doing here, Adam? Thanks a lot.
Marshall Morris: You probably shouldn’t have been drinking.
Adam Marshall: We’ll do the ‘lessons learned’ podcasts who next week you know.
Mike Thornbrugh: So we really don’t go back and say, “Gosh, I wish I would’ve thought about that and known more about that.” I mean, that’s, that’s not going to happen in life, right. But the ability to understand where we’re going to screw up and we’re gonna make mistakes—and it’s okay—is really part of our culture—now to do it over and over again is not. Trial and error is a good thing.
Eric Chupp: Yeah, one of the best things is to learn from your mistakes. Well, that hurt. Let’s not do that again. Right?
Marshall Morris: Well, I think there’s a lot of business owners that are scared of the failure the first time, and so therefore they never even take action in the first place.
Eric Chupp: Paralysis by analysis!
Mike Thornbrugh: And there would be the dictionary age, you remember those companies. Right? But we don’t want to be one of those.
Eric Chupp: Awesome. Well, Adam, do you have any more questions or anything you wanted to go over today, my man?
Adam Marshall: Yeah why doesn’t McDonald’s sell hot dogs?
Mike Thornbrugh: They’re not very good at it.
Adam Marshall: Okay, you sell hot dogs. You’ve always done awesome hotdogs, but a hotdog’s kind of a sandwich right?
Eric Chupp: It’s a side-bun.
Adam Marshall: Because I know your co-located—almost co located—with McDonald’s in a lot of markets. There’s one here in the 51st and Harvard. Why don’t they sell hot dogs? I’ve always wondered,
Eric Chupp: Because they’re a burger sack, bro!
Adam Marshall: I, you know, I just think of these things sometimes.
Mike Thornbrugh: That’s a legitimate question and I got to tell you the truth, I never really thought about it a hell of a lot why they don’t, I don’t know.
Eric Chupp: Let’s continue to not think about that.
Adam Marshall: Well, they’ll sell a McRib. I mean, that’s not a burger.
Mike Thornbrugh: Well, who buys a McRib first of all?
Adam Marshall: Oh, McRib come back once a year.
Eric Chupp: Oh, he knows, he knows!
Marshall Morris: For a limited time. It’s the last time they’re coming back.
Adam Marshall: It’s like a seasonal beer. Come get it!
Eric Chupp: Oktoberfest.
Marshall Morris: So in closing, I want to ask you if you guys at QuikTrip have a specific call to action or something that, as a result of listening to the podcast, that you’d like everybody to do, I’ll give my call to action. I would never go so far as to say that you’re an idiot if you’re not going to QuikTrip.
Eric Chupp: No, we wouldn’t do something like that.
Marshall Morris: I would never say that.
Mike Thornbrugh: I can’t say that.
Marshall Morris: I would never say you’re an idiot if you’re not shopping at QuikTrip. But if you haven’t been to a QuikTrip, you should definitely go
Eric Chupp: You’re missing out.
Marshall Morris: But Mike, do you have anything that you’d like…?
Eric Chupp: Parting words.
Marshall Morris: Parting words or I kick it over to you as giving the parting words.
Mike Thornbrugh: I mean, first of all, thanks guys, I’ve had a great time. And I know it’s not the beer!
Eric Chupp: It helps. But yeah.
Mike Thornbrugh: We were, we don’t really like to talk about ourselves a lot. We’re really proud in what we do, and we understand that we’re not perfect. We don’t pretend to be perfect, but my god guys, we try day in, day out to do the very best that you possibly can. And we’ve been really, really lucky. And with that we try to give it back, not only to the communities, but we pour a lot of money back into our employees in salaries and benefits and all those types of things. If we keep doing that—and with Chet, I assure you we’re going to do that–we’re going to be around a really, really long time.
Eric Chupp: I hope so.
Mike Thornbrugh: And we get it, man. You got a million places to go shop, right? So if we do you right and we do it consistently. We have a good chance of keeping you—not every single time—I’d like to.
Eric Chupp: Well, everybody’s looking for your convenience and ‘Quik-Trip’ makes sense.
Mike Thornbrugh: And watch this. We’re going to grow, we’re going to continue to change. And I’m sure if we screw up you guys will have me back on the podcast and will say, “Hey, here’s what you did…”
Eric Chupp: Alright well as we’re wrapping up, let’s do a cheers.
Mike Thornbrugh: Cheers lads!
Eric Chupp: The glasses are a little bit more empty. Merry Christmas. Happy holidays,
Mike Thornbrugh: They are half empty again!
Eric Chupp: One more podcast from the Snug at Marshall’s Taproom. So appreciate you guys.
Mike Thornbrugh: Great place man, I love it!
Eric Chupp: All right…
Mike Thornbrugh: And drink Marshall’s beer.
Eric Chupp: Drink Marshall’s beer! We’ll end on that.