“What a beautiful day,” said Buc-ee’s owner Arch “Beaver” Aplin III on Monday morning, November 21st. “Create a happy atmosphere, a happy environment – that’s what we’re all about.”
With the wait over, the crowds came out for a first look at the new Athens Buc-ee’s Monday. The doors to the new 53,470-square-foot Buc-ee’s opened to the public at 6:00 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside at 10:30 a.m
Beaver was joined by local and state leaders to commemorate the opening of the state’s third Buc-ee’s, the first in northern Alabama. Pammie Jimmar, President of the Athens-Limestone Chamber of Commerce, greeted the energetic crowd before introducing Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks.
“What a great day today in Athens and Limestone County,” said Marks. “Now we can answer the daily Facebook question, ‘When will Buc-ee open?’ Y’all, it’s here today. We are open and happy to be here.”
Marks thanked Athens City Council members for working with the Limestone County Commission and City Management Team to help make Buc-ees Athens a reality.
Limestone County Chairman Collin Daly said, “I want to thank my commission. We and the City Council worked together to get this project. A rising tide lifts all ships and this was a community project.”
Several members of the state delegation were in attendance, including Rep. Danny Crawford, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, Senator Arthur Orr and ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell. The Limestone County Economic Development Association was also part of the grand opening celebrations.
Bethany Shockney, President and CEO of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, said, “The fact that we can share our community and we get people to slow down and visit our community is exciting. This will have a lasting impact on us. I just asked Beaver what kind of total annual money impacts our community. He said well over $100 million. For us, that’s big.”
When Beaver and his team broke ground on Buc-ees Athens a year ago, he hoped it would open by Thanksgiving. He has kept his word and created more than 250 new jobs starting at $16 to $22 an hour with benefits.
“The red shirts behind me. These guys really make my job look easy. There are people from all over here. They’re traveling in from different stores and they came here to help with training,” Beaver said. “You saw the tariff notice. We’re not afraid of that. We have announced that we will pay you more than anyone else and provide a great living wage to the people of this community.”
At Buc-ee’s, Texas barbeque sandwiches, Beaver nuggets, and Buc-ee’s goods progressed quickly — but the staff was up to the opening-day challenge, keeping lines and wait times to a minimum.
Buc-ee’s is the most popular travel center in the world. Founded in 1982, Buc-ee’s now has 34 locations across Texas, including the largest convenience store in the world, and 9 locations in other states. Buc-ee’s Athens is located on the southeast corner of I65 and Huntsville Brownsferry Road.