Buc-ee's to begin construction on Amarillo location in 2023

Buc-ee's will begin construction on its Amarillo location in 2023. Buc-ee's plans to build a 53,000 square foot travel center at the southeast corner of E I-40 and Airport Blvd on around 20 acres. This $30 million project is expected to employ 150 full-time employees. 

"We closed on the property and we expect to begin construction next year," said Jeff Nadalo, Buc-ee's general counsel.

The company did not give an exact date as to when construction will begin.

In February of this year, the Amarillo City Council voted 5-0 to approve an economic development agreement with the Buc-ee’s. Buc-ee's is a chain of country stores and gas stations with locations in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

According to the City of Amarillo, the agreement with Buc-ee's includes:

New sales tax collections for the city at 50% of the city’s 1.5% for 20 years, then full collection after end of term;

$275,000 donation to benefit community-oriented projects, civic events or other benevolent purposes within the city as determined by City Council;

Make an effort to hire local contractors and suppliers to construct the project;

New ad valorem taxes from a $30 million investment, with no abatement or rebate being requested.

Arch "Beaver" Aplin III is Buc-ee's founder and CEO. And yes, he really does go by Beaver.

"Beaver was my nickname; my mom named me that when I was born," Aplin said. "There was a cartoon character way back, really before my time, a toothpaste commercial, and he was Bucky Beaver. So, this fellow always called me Bucky Beaver growing up."

Aplin opened the first Buc-ee's in 1982 as a regular-sized convenience store. It wasn't until 2003 that he got the idea to build the Mother of All Gas Stations. These days, Buc-ee's has 41 travel centers throughout the South, and boasts two world records, for the world's largest gas station and the world's longest car wash.

After almost 40 years in business, "Beaver" Aplin and his very private, very camera-shy business partner, a guy named Don Wasek, still own 100% of Buc-ee's. No investors, no board of directors. And that's exactly how they want it.

"Yeah, it allows us total independence to do what we think is the best," Aplin said. "And we don't have to answer to maybe a suggestion of how could we cut costs."

It's probably one reason why the starting wage for employees at this gas station is $15/hour, with benefits.

Aplin is now taking Buc-ee's national, with six travel centers outside Texas, and plans for many more. He's betting that this unapologetically Texas institution can work beyond the borders of the Lone Star State … and he could be right. After all, when you've got to go, you've got to go, and there just might be a cartoon beaver guiding the way.

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