Ah Buc-ee's. The uniquely Texan oasis in the vast wilderness of roadways that crisscross our great state. Where would we be without your beaver nuggets, your candied jalapeños and your tie-died Buc-ee's logo t-shirts? Where else can we stop at a gas station in the middle of nowhere to buy both barbecue and home decor? Road trips wouldn't be the same if we didn't have the guaranteed clean restrooms waiting at every location. Not to mention all the flavors of fudge or beef jerky you could ever dream of.
Your sign is a beacon of happiness, glowing on the highways of life. Yes, Texans love Buc-ee's about as much as we love chili, bluebonnets, and Sam Houston. So if you love the store, here are a few things you may not know about the Texan convenience store.
10. They pay well.
Currently, the store's cashiers start out at $13 per hour, and Team Leaders can make up to $18 per hour, and Assistants make even more. That's more than most people start out making as a college graduate. For comparison, standard cashier pay hovers around $8 at most other places. Each location states the employee pay above the door so you can see it as you exit.
9. They literally have the cleanest bathrooms in America.
That's not an exaggeration. Buc-ee's won a contest hosted by Cintas Corporation that awarded them the title of "Cleanest Bathrooms in America". To win the first prize they beat out a restaurant in Arizona and a hotel in Chicago, (number 2 and number 3, respectively). Clean bathrooms are one of the precepts Buc-ee's owners founded their store on, so it's no surprise they've won this award. The Buc-ee's that received the honor is in New Braunfels.
8. You can thank Lake Jackson for Buc-ee's.
The first Buc-ee's was opened in Lake Jackson in 1982, and the corporate headquarters are located there. That first store is still open and operating to this day. Arch "Beaver" Aplin was working at a Lake Jackson bank after college, where he befriended the bank president, who then loaned him $250,000 to get his dream off the ground. It was a wise investment, and Texans have been eternally grateful since.
7. They sparked a gas price war in the Hill Country.
Remember back in 2012 when gas was $3.50 per gallon? The opening of the New Braunfels Buc-ee's location actually helped lower that burden for many Texas drivers. According to an article in the San Antonio Express News, a nearby H-E-B and Walmart were both competing with Buc-ee's. The ensuing price war ended up lowering gas prices in the area to as low as $3.02 per gallon, which was probably below cost (at the time), so speculated an oil industry analyst who was interviewed for the article.
6. They were hit by bandits.
The Houston Chronicle reported that a group of identity thieves targeted Buc-ee's in 2015. The Buc-ee's bandits would use stolen credit card information to create new physical cards, and then use the fraudulent cards to purchase cartons of cigarettes, mostly from Buc-ee's locations. The victims had their money returned, but unfortunately, Buc-ee's ended up footing the bill for the thefts.
5. Buc-ee's is named for a man, a dog, and Ipana toothpaste.
Buc-ee's was originally opened by Arch "Beaver" Aplin and Don Wasek. Aplin was nicknamed "Beaver" by his mom as a baby and has always been known by the moniker. He also had an affinity for the old Ipana toothpaste mascot, Bucky the Beaver. To create the perfect trifecta of naming, Aplin's labrador retriever at the time was named Buck, and so was born Buc-ee's the convenience store chain.
4. Some people love Buc-ee's so much that they've copied it.
Beaver Aplin stated in an interview with ABC World News that people have called and asked for the bathroom design scheme so that they could recreate it in their home. I wonder if that includes the beaver logo?
3. No 18 wheelers allowed.
Regardless of their enormous size and plethora of amenities, Buc-ee's is not and never has been a "truck stop". It's for average motorists and does not have gas pumps for big rigs.
2. They had beef with their brisket supplier.
In 2016, Buc-ee's sued their brisket supplier for an alleged violation of contract that cost the chain over half a million dollars. Buc-ee's claims the supplier hiked the cost of the meat without notifying them. That would really add up considering they have an incredible deli counter.
1. Gig em, Buc-ee's.
The company's founder Beaver Aplin is a 1980 graduate of Texas A&M University, which might explain the square feet full of Aggie merch you can get at Buc-ee's stores.