Beloved Tulsa-based gas station and convenience store chain QuikTrip is expanding into the health care market.
The QuikTrip Corporation is the sole investor in a new entity known as MedWise Urgent Care, according to a press release from MedWise and the city of Tulsa.
Patrick Aguilar, a physician serving as the new company's first chief medical officer, said Friday that it makes sense for the brand to enter the medical sector.
"It's a brand that has worked really hard on developing a reputation for fast, friendly customer service in a clean and pleasant environment," Aguilar said. "If you think of your health care experiences, by and large, most of them probably don't meet any of those descriptors that I just used. Neither fast nor friendly nor clean as a regular expectation."
(Aguilar said he did not mean to imply that other health care providers or facilities are doing a bad job, only to highlight the "retail mindset" under which he said the new venture would operate.)
The company's first clinic opened last month in Coweta, Aguilar said, and plans to open a total of 15 locations in the Tulsa area within two years.
"We have an understanding of how people move between businesses, and are very interested in using that understanding to be part of what we offer patients, to recognize that as we think about where to put clinics, we can use the lessons we've learned by deciding where to put QuikTrips," Aguilar said.
"That recognition of a sense that we know how people move about the community is something that we think offers a level of convenience and accessibility that is really essential to the brand of MedWise," he said.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a statement that the city's economic development team would be working closely with the company to assist them in finding suitable sites for clinics.
“MedWise and its vision for a network of urgent care clinics is crucial in a time when more people are seeking more convenient and accessible ways to receive care,” Bynum said. “Throughout this expansion phase, our economic development team will continue to work closely with MedWise to help them identify sites that meet the needs of Tulsans from various zip codes. This expansion proves just how dedicated QuikTrip is to our area and we’re incredibly thankful for their continued investment in Tulsa.”
As of now, Aguilar said, the company does not have plans to "co-locate" QuikTrip stores and MedWise Urgent Care clinics.