PEARLAND, TEXAS: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he has taken the form of beaver – and not just any beaver, but a beaver with a red shirt and hat with an animated expression.
Or at least that is what the customers to the chain of Buc-ee’s, massive travel center/convenience stores, believe.
Among its 39 plus stores, customers are overwhelmed with joy as they find a whole wall dedicated to Icees, a massive beef jerky display, homemade fudge and a host of Buc-ee’s inspired and tagged apparel and gifts. That’s not all. There’s barbecue, a deli, aisles and aisles of snacks and home décor.
Buc-ee’s is not just an ordinary gas station or ‘pit stop’ – it is a mini vacation – so much better than a trip to Disney World. All of this goodness is due to Arch Aplin III, “Beaver.” After years of summers working in his grandparents’ mercantile and gas station in Louisiana, Arch found an empty lot in Lake Jackson, Texas, and the rest is history – in 1982, Buc-ee’s was born. The name came from the mascot of Ipana toothpaste, his favorite Labrador, Buck, and his own childhood nickname, Beaver.
Over the last year, the mainly Texas located chain has branched out into other states – one in Alabama, and another under construction there, and one in Florida under contraction.
On Monday, November 18, 2019, there will be a ground-breaking celebration in Warner Robins for Buc-ee’s first Georgia site.
The Murphy Gazette contacted the Buc-ee’s corporation by email, and requested an interview on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, Jeff Nadalo, general counsel for Buc-ee’s, emailed and called. “We don’t normally do but one or two interviews a year … but I wanted to answer some of your questions,” he said politely.
The Georgia Bu-cee’s will be at the southeast corner of Interstate 75 and Russell Parkway in Warner Robins, south of Macon, and north of Cochran, Eastman and Hawkinsville.
Buc-ee’s location in Warner Robins is set to be about 53,000 square feet, and will have 116 fueling posts. All as Buc-ee’s well-known products, like Texas barbecue, homemade fudge, Beaver Nuggets, jerky and much more, as well as thousands of other snack and food options, will be offered at the location.
And of course, there are the restrooms. Earlier in the spring of this year, GasBuddy ranked Buc-ee’s restrooms as the highest-rated gas station restrooms in the United States. Words like extremely clean, pristine and just the best bathrooms are used to describe them.
Jeff has been with Buc-ee’s for eight years. He knows the corporation well. “We are excited to come to Georgia,” he told The Murph.
The site in Warner Robins drew attention in part due to the location of the Robins Air Force Base. “We support the military. The base here has quite a reputation. Plus, we liked the location. There is a great workforce in the area that would produce quality employees as well. ”
Buc-ee’s, as a whole, Jeff stated, “wanted to be able to offer the public fantastic options when they are stopping to take a break in their travels.”
“We have grown organically in Texas, and we have a quite a few stores here,” he continued. So, the corporation started looking to build outside of the state.
Jeff added, “We are looking at all location potentials all over the United States.”
Construction of the store should be finalized in 2021. The Buc-ee’s Warner Robins location will provide about 200 permanent jobs, and plans to host a variety of job fairs prior to the opening.
—Becky Holland, The Murphy Gazette, 2019