Buc-ee’s is expanding across the Interstate 10 corridor from Texas to Florida, but those plans no longer include Louisiana.
Buc-ee’s may have a tiny footprint across the national convenience-store landscape, but it has an outsized reputation with its devoted customers. It has become the rare brand—like Apple and Costco—that inspires a loyalty well beyond rational consumer calculations.
As Texas Monthly details in a new feature on the chain, over the past several years, the company has begun buying land throughout the Southeast.
On January 21 it opened a new, 53,000-square-foot location off I-10 in Robertsdale, Alabama, its first store outside Texas. Buc-ee’s fans lined up outside the store in the hours before it opened, eager to be the first to grab a bag of Beaver Nuggets or use the much-ballyhooed clean bathrooms.
The company’s plan from here is simple: If you are driving from Atlanta to Nashville, you will pass a Buc-ee’s. If you are driving from Atlanta to Charlotte, you will pass a Buc-ee’s. If you are driving from Atlanta to Birmingham, you will pass a Buc-ee’s.
Except, as of right now, there will be no Buc-ee’s in Louisiana.
In March 2016, Buc-ee’s announced it would open its first store outside of the Lone Star State—not in Alabama, but off Interstate 12 in Baton Rouge at the Greens at Millerville.
At the time, company founder Arch “Beaver” Aplin told Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel, the Baton Rouge location was ideal. However, nine months later, Buc-ee’s backed out of the deal. It never said why. A local engineer working with the company would say only that “the stars did not align in Louisiana.”
As Riegel contends in a recent column, she believes it was the Louisiana way of doing business that soured Buc-ee’s executives, at least in part, on making an investment in the Bayou State.
Read the full Texas Monthly story here. And Riegel’s column about Louisiana’s hostility toward outsiders here.