Arch "Beaver" Aplin III
Number of locations
|Southern United States|
|Products||Fuel, convenience food, etc.|
Buc-ee's is an American chain of country stores, gas stations, and electric vehicle chargers created and owned by Arch "Beaver" Aplin III, headquartered in Lake Jackson, Texas. The chain was founded in 1982 in Clute, Texas and began expansion with its first travel center in Luling, Texas in 2003. The company began expanding outside of Texas in 2018 with the opening of a location in Baldwin County, Alabama, and has since opened locations in Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee, with new locations planned for North Carolina, Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin[not verified in body] and Louisiana.
The chain is well known for the large size of its locations, alongside its product offerings of fuel, snacks (particularly beef jerky and candy), brisket, baked goods and commodities, tacos, fresh sandwiches, souvenirs, and travel items. It holds the record for the largest gas station in the world, as of June 2023 its Sevierville, Tennessee location. The chain has also become well known for the cleanliness of its bathrooms, mascot, and the company's prohibition of 18-wheelers at their locations.
The chain has since developed a highly loyal customer base and often ranks among the most favorited gas stations in the country. Its bathrooms have also gained significant acclaim, winning the Cintas award for "Best Restroom in America" in 2012.
Founder Arch "Beaver" Aplin opened his first store as partners in Clute, Texas in 1982. Aplin formed the name Buc-ee's by combining his childhood nickname; the name of his Labrador Retriever, Buck; as well as the appeal of Ipana toothpaste's animated mascot, Bucky the beaver. Aplin was born in Southeast Texas, with his father originating from, and grandparents residing in, Harrisonburg, Louisiana. Buc-ee's expanded and opened its first travel center in Luling, Texas, in 2003.
In 2012, Buc-ee's opened its largest travel center in New Braunfels, Texas, on Interstate 35. The New Braunfels location was the largest convenience store in the world at 68,000 square feet (6,300 m2), but on June 26, 2023, the Sevierville, Tennessee Buc-ee's opened and became the worlds largest convenience store at 74,000 square feet (6,874 m²). The New Braunfels, Texas store had the 2012 "Best Restroom in America" named by Cintas.
After significant expansion in the Greater Houston area and Central Texas, the first Buc-ee's in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex opened in Terrell, Texas, on June 22, 2015. The travel center is located three miles west of The Shops at Terrell (a former Tanger Outlets center) on Interstate 20.
In September 2015, it was announced that at least part of Buc-ee's corporate operations would move to office space at Pearland Town Center. The "partial headquarters" would house the legal and human resources departments of the company. The space was ready by the early part of 2016.
The second Buc-ee's in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, the 32nd location in Texas, opened on May 23, 2016. The store is located in far northern Fort Worth, across the street from Texas Motor Speedway. The third DFW location opened in Denton, Texas, on October 29, 2018.
Expansion outside Texas
On March 8, 2016, Buc-ee's announced a possible first location outside of the state of Texas would be located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The location was expected to open in early 2017; however, on October 4, 2016, Buc-ee's announced that the plans for the Baton Rouge location had been terminated.
On April 12, 2017, Buc-ee's announced that it would open its first convenience store/gas station outside of Texas in Daytona Beach, Florida. Construction began in summer 2018. However, delays in the project pushed the construction date to sometime in 2021. Since the announcement of the Daytona Beach location, Buc-ee's also announced a new location to be built near St. Augustine, Florida. The St. Augustine location opened first on February 23, 2021, and the Daytona location opened on March 22, 2021.
As of July 2023, Buc-ee's has 46 active locations across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas:
Products and services
All travel center locations include a bakery, brisket and fudge bar, snack aisle, soda, coffee, and Icee station. Locations also feature walls lined with various candy and beef jerky flavors to purchase, including a beef jerky bar. Product offerings include cookies, kolaches, and pastries in the bakery, BBQ brisket sandwiches, breakfast tacos/sandwiches at the brisket bar, along with cold-cut wraps and sandwiches. Packaged cups of fruit and vegetables can be purchased as well. Locations also house packaged general snack foods, ice cream and Dippin' Dots, water, soda, energy drinks, and alcohol. The company has produced many of its own original snack foods, the most notable of which is "Beaver Nuggets" (flavored corn puff snacks), the company's best-selling product.
Souvenirs and general merchandise
Besides food and drink, the company also offers a variety of general and regional-based souvenirs, including apparel and artwork. The chain carries its own clothing brand, ranging from t-shirts to hats, pants, plushies, swimwear, and blankets. Stores also carry general kitchen goods, including cast iron skillets, food containers, mugs, glassware, cookbooks, coolers, and thermoses, among others. General travel products are sold as well, along with phone accessories. Various locations also sell hunting gear and equipment alongside outdoor products such as grills and firepits.
All Buc-ee's travel centers include 80 to 120 gas pumps, with fuel offerings ranging from unleaded to diesel. Some stores include ethanol-free fuel and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) as well.
In November 2021, CleanTechnica reported that Tesla would be opening Superchargers at 26 Buc-ee's locations in 7 states. As of February 2023[update], there were operational Superchargers at more than half of the planned locations, including in Alabama (Leeds, and Robertsdale); Florida (St. Augustine); South Carolina (Florence); Tennessee (Crossville); and Texas (Bastrop, Baytown, Ennis, Giddings, Katy, Madisonville, Melissa, New Braunfels, and Wharton).
As of February 2023, Buc-ee's has car washes available at five of their locations, all within the state of Texas. The longest of which, located in Katy, holds the record for the longest car wash in the world at 255 feet (78 metres) of conveyor.
In recent years, during the company's rapidly growing success, Buc-ee's has filed numerous lawsuits against other convenience store chains, most of them based in Texas, for trademark and trade dress infringement.
In 2014, Buc-ee's filed a lawsuit against Texas-based convenience store chain "Frio Beaver". Frio Beaver, a company with a logo also depicting a beaver in a yellow circle with a black outline, was accused of copying the iconic Buc-ee's beaver head logo, which the company is widely known for in Texas. The case was settled out of court in December 2014; B&B Grocery Inc. agreed to stop using the "Frio Beaver" logo and mascot.
In 2016, Buc-ee's sued "Choke Canyon BBQ", another Texas convenience store, for copyright infringement and trade dressing. Choke Canyon uses a logo of a grinning alligator in the middle of a yellow circle, which Buc-ee's claims is an attempt by the chain to resemble the Buc-ee's logo. Choke Canyon is also calling their new stores "Bucky's". Choke Canyon lost the federal lawsuit in May 2018 with Choke Canyon changing their logo to a cowboy inside of an orange circle.
In 2017, Buc-ee's again filed a lawsuit for breaking an agreement, this time against a Nebraska-based convenience store chain known as "Bucky's". The two companies had agreed to remain in their respective states and expand only to states where the other did not operate. The lawsuit was thrown out.
There was also a non-logo related lawsuit filed in 2013 against "Chicks", a convenience store located in Bryan, Texas, for trade dressing by allegedly copying Buc-ee's mega convenience store designs and layout. The case was settled out of court.
Buc-ee's also lost a Texas Employee Retention Agreement case on an appeal in 2017. A year after a trial court ordered a former employee to pay Buc-ee's close to $100,000 in damages and attorney's fees for breaching a "Retention Agreement," a Texas court of appeals reversed the decision and ordered that Buc-ee's take nothing on its claims against the former employee. The court reasoned that the contract violated Texas' employment-at-will doctrine and did not meet the Texas non-compete agreement requirements, so it was not enforceable.
In 2023, crossover artwork of the Buc-ee's beaver and Hatsune Miku was trending on Twitter. An Austin, Texas-based artist claimed responsibility for creating "Bucsune Miku". In response, Buc-ee's sent the artist a cease and desist letter regarding the stickers and use of the beaver logo. The artist subsequently announced they would no longer furnish the stickers via their shop, nor as a gift for supporting their work via tipping.
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