Want to see what a $7.4 million gas station looks like? Now's your chance. You'll find it at Buc-ee's Travel Center, the world's largest convenience store at I-35 and Exit 191 (Farm-to-Market Road 306) in New Braunfels, Texas.
The folks running Buc-ee's, a 26-store chain based in Texas, have found a unique formula for success. They opened their new landmark this week in New Braunfels, at what is sure to become a convenience store-tourist attraction. It's a 68,000 square-foot consumer magnet that makes it fun to stop there. (By the time you get back in your car you'll probably have purchased so many things that the gasoline you buy will just seem incidental.)
Buc-ee's has 60 fuel pumps outside and artwork available for sale inside. They also sell fudge, deer feeders, beachwear and t-shirts featuring the chain's trademark logo of a buck-toothed beaver. They've got monogrammed Texas Longhorn and Aggies sportswear.
The New Braunfels location is the chain's largest and it includes wider aisles, a farmer's market and an indoor area for hunting equipment.
And believe it or not, one of Buc-ee's biggest attractions is its restrooms (that also feature the artwork). The chain's biggest claim to fame, according to the San Antonio Express News, is its spotless restrooms. "The bathroom was fantastic," the paper reported, quoting a 77-year old woman emerging from the women's 34-stall restroom.
Another customer said, "We love Buc-ee's because they've got everything you could possibly want." Did we mention the New Braunfels Smokehouse-produced jerky, sandwiches made-to-order, tacos, barbecue, fountain drinks and Texas-themed gifts?
Buc-ee's was founded in 1982. At the New Braunfels location, they anticipate 5,000 vehicles daily. The store operates 24-hours a day and has 250 employees staffing it.
General Manager Dan Parkinson says "This is just the next step in our evolution of taking over the free world, one clean restroom at a time."