When Willie Kimmons got the call two years ago to build a country-style store in northern Wisconsin, he didn’t realize this was not going to be a typical convenience store construction project. What it became, and what his team built, exceeded all expectations.

Willie Kimmons has been selling Wick Buildings in the Merrill area since 1999.  He’s built his business (literally) on taking a great deal of pride in attention to detail.  He enjoys going the extra mile to construct something that’s visually amazing and on target with the owner’s needs.

The Wagner Oil convenience store, located in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, fits that description.  The owner, Howie Wagner, owns a series of convenience stores. He’s meticulous about how his stores appear, and he wanted the Tomahawk location to be just as unique. That’s why he called Willie.

Groundbreaking at the Wagner Oil store.Groundbreaking at the Wagner Oil store.


Early in the construction process.Early in the construction process.


Overhead shot during construction.Overhead shot during construction.

Country-Style Store — And Then Some

Howie Wagner’s vision for the Wagner Oil convenience store was to create a “country-style store.”  It was to be more than just a convenience store gas station.

Set in natural, scenic northern Wisconsin by a nearby lake, the goal was to create an inviting store, one that blended with the countryside.  To make it happen, Willie and his team of contractors used a variety of unique elements for aesthetic appeal.

The post-frame building has a steep roof pitch of 7/12.  A steep pitch has a couple of benefits including a good appearance that is consistent with many buildings in northern climates.  It also allows for improved snow loading capacity in areas where snow accumulation is common.  Since snow tends to slide off of steel roofs, especially steep ones, Willie specified snow guards (tabs attached to the roof to keep snow in place) which he had painted to match the roof.

Steep roof pitch.Steep roof pitch.

The exterior includes thin cut fieldstone. Only an inch and a quarter thick, the cut retains its beautiful appearance but makes it easy to lay.

Fieldstone exterior.Fieldstone exterior.

The entryway includes recessed lighting, Cedar wrapped columns, and stone pillars. The columns and pillars weren’t in the original bid, but Howie opted for it following Willie’s advice. He’s glad he did.

Cedar wrapped columns and recessed lighting.Cedar wrapped columns and recessed lighting.

Stamped concrete under the entryway projects the country look.

Stamped concrete.Stamped concrete.

The porch runs the full length of the building.

Front porch area.Front porch area.

Inside, the high ceiling includes tongue and groove pine.

Tongue and groove pine on the ceiling.Tongue and groove pine on the ceiling.

Plank-looking ceramic tile covers the entire floor.

Plank flooring.Plank flooring.

The back areas includes a porch and an area closed off with CertainTeed vinyl fencing.  The area conceals the air conditioning and refrigeration units.

Exterior fencing.Exterior fencing.

Dormers allow natural light to enter the building.

Dormers allow for extra light.Dormers allow for extra light.

The biggest challenge of the project was getting approval from the township. Neighbors were worried about traffic noise, lighting and water runoff. Willie’s team satisfied all the requirements, using the proper lumens and constructed a retention pond.

Retention pond for runoff.Retention pond for runoff.

In addition, the Wagner Oil facility has a number of extra features, including:

  • Over 4300 square feet
  • Baking kitchen
  • Walk-in beer cooler
  • Coffee bar
  • Soda fountain
  • 3 separate women’s restrooms

Beauty That Will Translate to the Bottom Line

Wagner Oil held its Grand Opening in early March, and it’s our guess that the enhanced aesthetics and overall meticulous care of the convenience store will earn plenty of new and repeat customers.

Convenience store construction can be a cookie-cutter operation. But when you combine the vision of someone like Howie Wagner with the attentiveness and expertise of a builder like Willie Kimmons, you get more than just a store.

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