In a classic case of state rivalry, Florida and Tennessee are both vying for the title of hosting the largest Buc-ee location in the country. The news comes just as Tennessee welcomed the “world’s largest” Buc-ee’s, an announcement swiftly followed by Florida’s ambitious plans to build an even larger outpost of the popular travel center.
Tennessee’s Claim to the Title
Tennessee recently celebrated the opening of a monumental 74,000-square-foot Buc-ee’s location in Sevierville. This impressive facility houses 120 gas pumps, 22 electric vehicle stations, and a 250-foot car wash. Conveniently located right off Interstate 40 at Exit 407, the store serves as the main entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains. Tourists heading to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville can easily access this mega store for its renowned offerings, such as beef brisket sandwiches and the infamous Beaver Nuggets.
Quick Facts about the Tennessee Location:
- Location: Sevierville, Tennessee
- Size: 74,000 square feet
- Features: 120 gas pumps, 22 electric vehicle stations, and a 250-foot car wash
- Notable offerings: Beef brisket sandwiches and Beaver Nuggets
Not one to back down from a challenge, Florida announced its plans to build a Buc-ee’s travel center that will outsize the Tennessee location by 6,000 square feet. Slated to open in 2025 in Marion County, the Florida Buc-ee’s will be situated near Interstate 75, north of Ocala. In April, Governor Ron DeSantis earmarked a $4 million grant to facilitate the construction of a new interchange at Interstate 75 in Ocala, which will coincide with the opening of the new Buc-ee’s. According to DeSantis, the colossal location will feature 120 gas pumps and 720 parking spaces, along with the 80,000-square-foot store.
Quick Facts about the Upcoming Florida Location:
- Location: Marion County, Florida
- Size: Planned 80,000 square feet
- Features: 120 gas pumps, 720 parking spaces
- Opening date: 2025
What is Buc-ee’s?
Buc-ee’s is an American chain of convenience stores, gas stations, and electric vehicle chargers known for their expansive size and variety of offerings. The chain was created and is owned by Arch “Beaver” Aplin III. It’s headquartered in Lake Jackson, Texas, and has locations spread across several states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The stores are particularly recognized for their clean restrooms, a vast selection of jerky, branded clothing, and Texas-style brisket sandwiches.
The Texas Factor
While Florida and Tennessee jostle for the crown, a larger Buc-ee’s is already under construction in the chain’s home state, Texas. The upcoming location in Luling, Texas, is slated to spread over 75,000 square feet, marginally larger than the current record-holder in Tennessee. Interestingly, the new store will replace a 20-year-old Buc-ee’s that covers only about 35,000 square feet and employs 100 people. In a testament to the rapid expansion of Buc-ee’s, the new Texas store is expected to employ about 250 people, more than doubling the workforce of its predecessor.
Quick Facts about the Upcoming Texas Location:
- Location: Luling, Texas
- Size: Planned 75,000 square feet
- Expected Employment: 250 people
A Glimpse into Buc-ee’s Expansion
Since its establishment in 1982, Buc-ee’s has enjoyed a robust expansion across the United States. From its birthplace in Lake Jackson, Texas, the chain has spread to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Buc-ee’s currently operates 46 stores across the South, with new locations recently breaking ground in Colorado and Missouri. Furthermore, the company has announced plans for an additional store in Tennessee and its first-ever outlet in Virginia. As the chain continues to expand its footprint across the country, customers look forward to the unique offerings Buc-ee’s brings to the table. From the famous ‘Beaver nuggets’ (caramel popcorn), and all kinds of barbecue to its status as a veritable “Shangri-La of service stations”, Buc-ee’s consistently delivers on its promise of being more than just a gas station.
Whether in Tennessee, Florida, or Texas, Buc-ee’s continues to surpass expectations with its impressive locations. While it remains to be seen who will ultimately lay claim to hosting the largest Buc-ee’s, the competition has highlighted the remarkable growth of this chain of gas stations and convenience stores. As Governor Ron DeSantis fittingly put it, “It’s basically like the Shangri-La of service stations when you go into a Buc-ee’s.” To learn more about Buc-ee’s history and locations, you can visit their official website here.