Texas convenience store giant touted as the world’s largest convenience store opens first location in St. Johns County, Florida – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by stock_photo_world
The first Buc-ee’s convenience and fueling station in Florida officially opened this week in St. Johns County.
For those who are unaware of or have ever heard of Buc-ee’s, it’s basically the Amazon of gas stations, highway pit stops, and convenience stores all melted into one. It is known for being the world’s largest convenience store.
“Picking St. Augustine for our first Florida location made sense for many reasons, but its proximity to our other locations across the South was our initial motivator,” said Stan Beard, real estate director of Buc-ee’s, in a press release.
The Buc-ee’s location in St. Augustine is the first of several planned for the state as part of the Texas brand’s multi-state southern expansion, with the next location slated to open next month in Daytona Beach.
“Location aside, our owners fell in love with the rich history and warm hospitality of St. Augustine. With their crystal-clear beaches and walkable atmosphere, St. Augustine is among the most beautiful cities in Florida,” added Beard. “We are excited to offer visitors and residents the experience and convenience of Buc-ee’s and can’t wait to become a part of the local community.”
Buc-ee’s is known for a plethora of amenities and its massive selection of goods and services. Oddly enough, the mega pit stop is praised for its exceptionally clean and well-maintained restrooms. Yes—a fueling station on the side of a major highway has a reputation for having cleaner than normal bathrooms.
The Texas brand operates 38 locations across its home state and continues to attract hundreds of thousands of passersby every year. Finally, Floridians can have a taste of the famous Buc-ee’s homemade fudge, Texas barbeque, beef jerky, beaver nuggets, and more. A jack of all trades, really.
Stores are traditionally split into sections, much like any other grocery or goods store. But Buc-ee’s is more than just a place to take a pit stop on a long drive; it’s an experience. The St. Augustine location boasts a massive 52,600 square foot lot with items ranging from clothes and home décor to hot food and sporting goods. It also features over 100 fueling terminals for quick and easy servicing on the road.
The chain was welcomed on opening day early Monday morning, with dozens of people lined up outside the doors hours before its 6 a.m. opening. Some of the people in line were even decked out in Buc-ee’s gear and memorabilia to celebrate the grand opening.
Located at 200 World Commerce Parkway off the I-95 interchange, the first Buc-ee’s in the state looks to serve thousands of visitors given its busy locale—which hasn’t sat well with local residents. Many residents have cited that by introducing such a large convenience store in an already busy location, that it will only exacerbate the current situation by adding more congestion to the streets.
In 2019, the concern for opening a Buc-ee’s at the World Golf Village was so high that more than 2,000 people signed a petition in opposition of the chain store due to traffic congestion and quality of life concerns.
But just as there are criticisms for such a large development, there are many on the opposite side of the aisle that fully support it. Buc-ee’s has advertised its high-paying positions, with a starting rate of $15 per hour—well above the current state minimum wage. The St. John’s County site is expected to bring 200 full-time positions with full benefits such as 401k and three weeks vacation to the St. Augustine area.
In any case, the mega store’s expansion to the Sunshine State marks a new era of pit stops in the region and will serve thousands of Floridians and travelers daily, providing a necessary jolt to the local economy and a change of scenery.
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Melissa’s career in writing started more than 20 years ago. Today, she lives in South Florida with her husband and two boys.