Explore the remarkable life and career of Don Zietlow, the CEO of Kwik Trip, and uncover the secrets behind his $20 million net worth.
Discover the narrative of his early life, business philosophy, leadership style, and philanthropic efforts.
The Inspiring Journey of Don Zietlow: From Humble Beginnings to Leading Kwik Trip
Have you ever wondered about the story behind Don Zietlow, the CEO of Kwik Trip, and how he amassed a net worth of $20 million as of 2023?
In this article, we'll delve into the inspiring journey of Don Zietlow, from his early life to his current position as one of the most successful and influential figures in the convenience store industry.
Early Life and Career
Born in 1935 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Don Zietlow faced the challenges of growing up in a modest family.
Despite the hurdles, he pursued a path of education, attending Logan High School and later studying accounting at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, graduating in 1957.
His career began as an auditor at the prestigious accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where he honed his skills in finance and business over six years.
In 1963, Don Zietlow joined Kwik Trip as its controller, a move that set the stage for his transformative impact on the company.
Originally founded in 1965 as Kwik Stop by John Hansen, the franchise evolved under Don Zietlow's financial acumen.
By 1989, he had become the sole owner and CEO, steering Kwik Trip towards becoming one of the largest and most profitable convenience store chains in the United States.
Beyond his professional success, Don Zietlow is a humble and generous individual deeply rooted in family values.
A devout Christian, he attends the First Evangelical Free Church regularly and is an avid supporter of local sports teams such as the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Wisconsin Badgers.
In his leisure time, Don Zietlow enjoys activities like travelling, golfing, fishing, hunting, and watching sports with his wife, LaVonne Zietlow, whom he met at a church picnic when he was 19 years old.
Don and LaVonne have been happily married for over 65 years and are blessed with four children: John, Mark, Scott, and Kay.
LaVonne is not only a supportive life partner but also a board member of Kwik Trip and the Don Zietlow Family Foundation.
Together, they share a commitment to philanthropy and actively contribute to causes such as the Salvation Army, the Boys and Girls Club of America, and more.
Don Zietlow's Success and Wealth
Don Zietlow's net worth of $20 million is a testament to his strategic leadership at Kwik Trip.
Owning over 700 stores across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, with a workforce of over 28,000, he has positioned himself as one of the wealthiest individuals in Wisconsin.
Don Zietlow's success stems from his ownership of production facilities and distribution centres, providing a competitive edge in the convenience store market.
Business Philosophy and Leadership Style
Don Zietlow's business philosophy revolves around valuing employees as the most significant asset.
Treating them like family, he ensures above-minimum wages, health benefits, bonuses, profit-sharing, and support for educational pursuits.
His straightforward yet effective mantra is, "Take care of your co-workers; they'll take care of your guests; your guests will come back; that takes care of the bottom line."
He invests in quality products and services, utilizing loyalty programs, mobile apps, and online ordering to enhance customer experience.
Don Zietlow's leadership style has garnered accolades, including being named one of the best CEOs in America by Glassdoor in 2018 and induction into the Convenience Store News Hall of Fame in 2017.
His commitment to excellence is further recognized through awards like the Horatio Alger Award in 2016 and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in 2014.
Future Plans and Vision
At 88 years old, Don Zietlow shows no signs of slowing down. His vision for Kwik Trip revolves around serving customers and the community effectively.
With a focus on growth, he plans to expand the business, improve operational efficiency, and groom successors for a seamless leadership transition.
Appointing his son Mark as the president of Kwik Trip and son John as the vice president of finance, Don Zietlow ensures a family-centric legacy.
Philanthropy and Social Impact
Don Zietlow's commitment to community extends to philanthropy, supporting causes like The Salvation Army, The Boys and Girls Club of America, The United Way, The Freedom Honor Flight, and The La Crosse Community Foundation.
Through these initiatives, he aims to make a positive impact on society beyond the realm of business.
In conclusion, Don Zietlow's journey from a modest upbringing to the helm of Kwik Trip is a testament to his resilience, vision, and commitment to both business and community.
As a successful CEO, a loving family man, and a generous philanthropist, Don Zietlow's story inspires not only in the boardroom but also in the hearts of those touched by his leadership and generosity.
Q: How old is Don Zietlow?
A: As of 2023, Don Zietlow is 88 years old.
Q: How many stores does Kwik Trip have?
A: Kwik Trip operates over 700 stores across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.
Q: How much does Don Zietlow pay his employees?
A: Don Zietlow ensures above-minimum wages, health insurance, bonuses, profit-sharing, and other benefits for his employees.
Q: What are some of the products that Kwik Trip sells?
A: Kwik Trip offers a diverse range of products, including gasoline, groceries, snacks, beverages, hot food, bakery items, and dairy products.
Q: Is Don Zietlow married, and does he have any children?
A: Yes, Don Zietlow is married to LaVonne Zietlow, and they have four children: John, Mark, Scott, and Kay.