LOXLEY — The minute you walk into the Buc-ee’s Travel Center you realize this is not your ordinary convenience store/fueling station.
The new 55,000 square-foot facility encompassing seven acres of concrete, which is set to open next week off of County Road 68 and the Baldwin Beach Express near the Interstate 10 exit in Loxley, is the first to be built outside the state of Texas and employs more than 200 workers.
Inside, you will find a wide variety of gift items, many of which are geared toward the Alabama traveler.
In the center is giant food station, which includes barbecue Texas brisket sliders, breakfast tacos and a wide variety of snacks, including Buc-ee’s signature Beaver Nuggets, which are a caramel coated snack along with “other addictive substances,” said Dan Parkinson, new store opening coordinator for Buc-ee’s.
Buc-ee’s also includes a wide variety of various kinds of jerky, fudge and other staples, such as a cinnamon-spice coated snack that you can get with your choice of nut, including peanuts, pecans, almonds and cashews. There is also a large assortment of coffee available.
You can get these items made fresh or packaged to take with you on the road. You can also pick up a wide selection of sauces and other items, all packaged with the Buc-ee’s brand, along with other name-brand snacks and drinks, precisely chilled and maintained to make sure they stay that way.
“There’s no seating inside the store,” Parkinson said. “It’s all about finding ways to improve your travel experience.”
Then there are the restrooms, dubbed “World Famous” and on full display in big letters in the entry-way to the facilities. There are 26 stalls in the ladies’ restroom, 12 stalls and 22 urinals in the men’s, all attended to 24-7 by Buc-ee’s employees to keep them neat, clean and fully stocked.
Outside, Buc-ee’s includes over 120 fueling stations, including eight Ethanol-free positions which can be used for boat fuel. While they do sell diesel fuel, Buc-ee’s is strictly for passenger vehicles only, no 18-wheelers or large equipment trailers.
“We appreciate those men and women who travel the roads supplying America and we certainly need them for our supplies,” Parkinson said, “and we recognize that there is already a place on either side of us designed for that and we fully support them. Our commitment is to making this facility as family-friendly as possible. That means no rolling papers, no ‘personal hygiene’ products in the restrooms, nothing that you have to walk out having to explain to your children what that is.”
Buc-ee’s is all of the things mentioned above, but it’s much more than that. You realize that Buc-ee’s is as much a destination itself as it is a stop along the way to your destination.
“A lot of people talk about making a commitment to cleanliness and attention to detail,” Parkinson said, “but we are focused on taking that commitment to the next level. It’s all about making our customer experience the best it can be so they will want to come back time and time again.”
Founded in 1982, Buc-ee's has approximately 40 locations, almost all of which are located in Texas.
The company also operates the largest convenience store in the world, located in New Braunfels, Texas. The New Braunfels Travel Center covers 68,000 square feet and features 120 fueling positions, 83 toilets, 31 cash registers four Icee machines, and 80 fountain dispensers.
Buc-ee’s is based in Lake Jackson, also home to the company’s first convenience store, which is still in operation. For more information, visit buc-ees.com.
While the new location is planning a soft opening for Monday, Jan. 21, there may be a small delay, Parkinson said, to install some needed equipment for the facility.
“Our plan is still to open the week of the 21st,” he said. “We are excited about being in Loxley and we are excited about this location. The folks here have been so nice and helpful, and we feel like this is an exact fit for our business model.”
In 2019, Buc-ee’s plans to continue its expansion outside the state of Texas, opening three additional stores in Florida over the coming year, Parkinson said.
“It’s all part of our commitment to take over the world, one clean restroom at a time,” he said.