The 53,470-square-foot convenience store/gas station/marketing and branding phenomenon which opened on November 21, 2022 -- just in time for the anticipated Thanksgiving traffic along I-65 -- is every bit the magnet off of the interstate that Athens and Limestone officials hoped it would be. Exit 347/Browns Ferry Road now sees a constant stream of cars where before November 21 there was only a trickle.
Some love it. Some hate it. But with its Buc-ee's Beaver circular sign jutting into the air, it is impossible to ignore. I predict that symbol will soon be as recognizable as the Golden Arches
This location is only about 35 minutes from my house, so I have visited a couple of times and expect to be there numerous times in the coming years. My impression so far is that there are nine reasons why you might want to visit at least once and then decide for yourself whether you'll be a Buc-ee (pronounced "Bucky") lover or hater.
I believe I can declare that the restrooms at Buc-ee's are cleaner than those found in many people's homes. Not only are they clean, but (at least in the women's section) they are attractive and well-stocked. In fact, the whole store is extremely clean. Yes. That could be because it is so new, but I spotted a number of employees who seemed particularly assigned to the task of squeaky cleanness. That's a huge plus in my book.
2. GAS FOR YOUR VEHICLE
With 120 gas pumps lined up outside, you won't have to wait long to fill up your car. I can't say that Buc-ee's has the cheapest gas, but from what I've observed, the prices are within a reasonable range -- maybe within 6-7-cents a gallon of the lowest prices.
Another plus is the presence of signs stating that no 18-wheelers are allowed on the property. That makes a HUGE difference.
3. BRISKET SANDWICHES
There is actually a large menu of barbecue-type sandwiches being made on the spot, but brisket is the one most often mentioned. Our son LOVES the brisket sandwiches, even going so far as saying "they're life-changing." I'd give Buc-ee's an A for the SIZE of their sandwiches, and the buns are nice and soft. But, the brisket only gets a B minus in my opinion. Next time I'll try another of their offerings, but you should judge for yourself. If you'd like, you can buy a pound of meat to take home in order to make several sandwiches.
4. HOUSEMADE FUDGE
Many wonderful candies are made right in front of your eyes, but the varieties of fudge are most likely to get your attention. Go. Smell. Taste. Yummo!
5. BEAVER NUGGETS
The original flavor, which is also the best-selling, consists of puffy/crunchy popcorn-like nuggets coated with brown sugar caramel. Other varieties include sea-salted caramel, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, cinnamon sweet, white cheddar, white fudge, white cheddar habanero, and others.
In addition, there are many other snack items for sale. Feel free to ask our grandchildren about their favorites. Buc-ee's snacks filled their stockings this Christmas.
You'll be duly impressed with the number of gift items for sale inside Buc-ee's. Toys, jewelry, sporting goods, specialty foods, cookbooks, and MUCH more line the aisles. I didn't spy a gift-wrapping station, but I'm pretty sure you'd be able to find something fun, useful, pretty, or delicious for your loved one
7. KITCHENWARE AND HOME DECOR
From Lodge cast iron skillets, glassware, serving pieces, and aprons to artwork, bath goods, knives, and coolers along with pretty much everything in between, you just might find it at Buc-ee's. I was surprised at the variety, and I believe you will be, too. The store has been decked out for the holidays since it opened. I can't wait to see what they will roll out for Valentine's Day and spring.
8. MATCHING PJs
My group adamantly refuses to pose for photos wearing matching pajamas, but your family might be good sports about such things. You could look on Amazon, OR you could just drive to Buc-ee's. I'm quite sure they would have what you need in all the right sizes.
Want some underwear decorated with Buc-ee Beavers? They've got you covered.
Buc-ee t-shirts and sweatshirts? Sure thing.
Cowboy hats? Just name the color.
9. CONTRIBUTE TO THE TAX REVENUE FOR ATHENS AND LIMESTONE COUNTY
You MIGHT run into someone you know at the Athens Buc-ee's, but you will for SURE share the space with people from all over the country who happen to be traveling down I-65 and want to stop for gas/restrooms/food/curiosity. All of those non-local (and local) car tags you spot are adding nicely to the tax revenue for the people of Athens and Limestone County. The same goes for the Buc-ee's in the Birmingham area, and the Buc-ee's on the Baldwin Beach Express near the Alabama Gulf Coast. These three Buc-ee's locations in Alabama are adding tremendously to the economic vitality of the counties where they are found.
So, the moral of the story is this. Give Buc-ee's a chance. Use that clean restroom. Buy some gas. Grab some food. The people of Athens will thank you.
P.S. Since my son was late for our family Christmas gathering because he couldn't resist stopping at Buc-ee's and since he has mentioned his love for the place so often to the people in his congregation that one of the members gave him this gift recently, I'm sharing this photo without his permission. :) Happy New Year!! Anything can happen when your mom has a blog. :)