The World's Largest Convenience Store
Convenience stores attached to gas stations are generally small in size, with a limited selection of household and automotive products and packaged and prepared takeout foods and beverages. But the largest convenience store in the world is bigger—and offers a wider variety of products—than most grocery and department stores.
With 67,000 square feet of retail sales space, the Buc-ee’s location in New Braunfels, Texas, is the world’s largest convenience store. You could fit 22 average-sized 7-Eleven convenience stores or two average-sized Whole Foods stores inside this Buc-ee’s.
The Buc-ee's chain has 36 locations in eastern Texas, most in small towns along major highways, and is expanding into Alabama and Florida. Its first location outside Texas, in Loxley, Alabama, opened in January 2019.
Buc-ee's buck-toothed, red-cap-wearing beaver logo was inspired by the nickname co-owner Arch “Beaver" Aplin's mother gave him. Aplin opened the first Buc-ee's convenience store in Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1982. He teamed up with Don Wasek, who owned another nearby convenience store, and they started expanding the company, which each of them has a 50 percent stake in. "Forbes" estimated Buc-ee's Ltd.'s revenue was $275 million in 2016.
The New Braunfels location opened on May 7, 2012, on the northbound side of Interstate Highway 35 between San Antonio and Austin. Besides being the world’s largest convenience store, it's also among the world's largest gas stations, with 120 gasoline pumps. (The Buc-ee's location in Denton, Texas, has 122.)
83 Bathroom Stalls
The New Braunfels Buc-ee’s was also recognized in 2012 as having America's Best Restroom by Cintas, a company that provides services and products to other businesses, including restroom supplies. "Customers making a beeline for the bathroom at Buc-ee’s say this Texas-based business flushes the competition when it comes to clean!" the America's Best Restroom website says. That would be a notable accomplishment for any convenience store, but particularly for this Buc-ee’s location, which has 83 stalls.
Each Buc-ee's location sells a huge selection of snacks suitable for road trips. Beaver Nuggets are sugary corn-based treats similar to Corn Pops cereal. Buc-ee's Nug-ees are their savory counterpart, emphasizing cheesiness and saltiness instead of sweetness. Buc-ee's also features many varieties of fudge, jerky, popcorn, trail mix, dried fruit, and candy.
These convenience stores serve up more substantial foods, including breakfast tacos and Reuben sandwiches, and baked goods as well as soft drinks and coffee. (Buc-ee's brew was named the best gas station convenience store coffee in the U.S. in 2018.) In addition, they sell locally grown and made products, including produce, sauces, and preserves.
Besides food, Buc-ee's stores offer toys, jewelry, household decor, religious items, clothing, artwork, hunting paraphernalia, and products featuring Buc-ee the beaver, such as T-shirts and stuffed animals.
Some Other Notable Numbers
The New Braunfels location covers 18 acres, employs about 250 people, and has 1,000 parking spaces, 31 cash registers, and 80 soda dispensers.
There's also always someone attending to the restrooms 24/7.