Have you ever imagined a Walmart-sized fueling station along an interstate highway?
If you live in Texas you don’t have to imagine it. Just pull into any Buc-ee’s, where you’ll find a store of more than 50,000 square feet offering everything from beef jerky and sodas to kitchen cookware to clothing to hard-to-find handmade crafts and everything in between.
“There’s your typical convenience store items, but in addition you also have clothing, you have home decor, you have lots of food, items for hunting and recreational activities, items for your kitchen,” Jeff Nadalo, general counsel and spokesman, said.
You won’t have to imagine it too much longer if you live in South Alabama. A new 53,000-square-foot Buc-ee’s will open in early 2019 at the intersection of Interstate 10 and the Baldwin Beach Express. It’s the first outside Texas. The huge complex will have 120 fuel pumps and employ 250 workers.
It does not cater to commercial truck drivers. Besides being part convenience store and part Walmart, it’s also part country fair. Or a bunch of country fairs brought onto one huge retail floor.
“What you’ll find are the products that are premium brands,” Nadalo said. “We have extremely high-quality handmade items and things you might have to go to the country craft fair to find. In Texas, you’ll have a country fair and you’ll have a small merchant that has some really fantastic high-quality, oftentimes handmade items. We’ll bring those specialty items all under one roof so you don’t have to go to 10 different fairs to find the items. It’s all in one spot.”
Along with candles and T-shirts, you’ll also find a variety of quirky items and a ton of stuff sporting the company logo featuring Buc-ee the Beaver.
Sitting at the corner of a turn south that leads to Alabama’s resort area on the Gulf Coast, this Buc-ee’s will have lots of supplies for those travelers.
“In our stores near the beach we have swimsuits, we have surfboards, we have boogie boards, coolers and a lot of really neat stuff,” Nadalo said.
According to billboards seeking applicants, workers will make $13 to $17 an hour.
In 2017 Buc-ee’s paid $3.7 million for the land to build its first Alabama store. In addition to the cost of construction, it will also spend money to improve County Road 68 on its south boundary. Baldwin County recently voted to spend almost $400,000 for traffic signals at County Road 68 and the beach express and at the I-10-beach express interchange.
Buc-ee’s is also planning a move into Florida in the coming months in St. John’s County on I-95 and in Daytona Beach.