The majority of Americans outside of Texas probably aren't familiar with Buc-ee's, but to the thousands of people the popular convenience store serves everyday in Texas (and now Alabama), going to Buc-ee's is a customer experience unlike others. The store, known for its palatial brick-and-mortars and vast offerings, has garnered a near cult-like following over the years. It's the Disney World of gas station convenience. Here's why.
Most people dread road trips because the stops along the way are dreadful. Everyone has a bathroom gas station horror story to tell, and the thought of stepping in a dirty stall is enough to cause PTSD. To offset the negative associations, Buc-ee's prides itself on being a safe space for customers to use the bathroom. According to GasBuddy, Buc-ee's has had the cleanest gas station bathrooms in the country in both 2018 and 2019. The new Tooshlight technology probably doesn't hurt, either.
All of the suspense is part of the fun. For those unfamiliar with the chain, the company's simple marketing is enough to attract even the most focused drivers. Many of the signs include a mileage countdown and a Buc-e'es fact to lure you in. Of course, the picture of the Buc-ee's Beaver is essential, too. Every few miles, drivers from near and far are greeted with enticing details about the nearby branch.
In Texas, the Buc-ee's Beaver is almost as familiar as Mickey Mouse. The smiling face, buck teeth, and red hat are all signifiers of a happy time to come. While there are no roller coasters at Buc-ee's (yet?), the happy-go-lucky beaver greets guests at the entrance of each store. First-time customers and loyal customers alike enjoy taking pictures with the mascot to commemorate their visit. (And let's not forget all the silly Buc-ees merchandise that goes along with it!)
Beef and Barbecue
This one's a biggie. Buc-ee's offers way more than your traditional chips and candy bars. In addition to offering aisles of groceries and camping supplies, the chain also comes complete with an entire section devoted to beef jerky flavors (some of which customers can only select at a counter). The store also offers prepared barbecue sandwiches (including pulled pork and brisket) made at the counter for a convenient grab-and-go. Oftentimes, the sandwiches are still warm from being freshly made.
Buc-ee's, while slowly expanding across the South, offers an experience that's uniquely Texan. Whether it's the big smiles that greet you as you enter, the large selection of hearty snacks and goodies, the vast availability of gas pumps, or the enormous square footage (the New Braunfels location boasts a whopping 68,000 square feet, making it the largest convenience store in the world), Buc-ee's offers an entertaining customer experience that blows its competitors out of the water. Other stores may be cheaper or more centrally located, but they still pale in comparison to the feeling one has when they see the Beaver.