Everybody Here Knows There Will Be A Buc-ee’s In Lafayette Soon, Right?

It’s not a completely new or surprising thing, but this report did pop last week

Buc-ee’s, the popular Texas-based convenience store chain, is on track to open its first Lafayette location by late next year. According to the Acadiana Advocate, the company cleared significant initial hurdles on Thursday night, receiving unanimous approval from the Lafayette Board of Zoning Adjustment for eight variances related to parking lot landscaping, parking spaces, architectural requirements, and sign regulations.

The new store is set to be situated at the northeast corner of Louisiana Avenue and Interstate 10. It will feature a massive 74,000-square-foot building, complete with gas pumps and nearly 700 parking spaces. While several approvals are still pending, the company seems optimistic about its progress.

Scott Ratcliff, Buc-ee’s Director of Engineering, expressed confidence in city officials’ support and the ongoing collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development on a traffic study. Additionally, efforts are underway with the Corps of Engineers to renew an environmental permit for the site.

Supposedly, this Buc-ee’s will be one of the three largest in the chain. The biggest Buc-ee’s is in Sevierville, Tennessee, and it’s just under 75,000 square feet – which is hilariously large for a convenience store; a Walmart is generally around 175,000 square feet, so to think you’d have a convenience store almost half as big as a Walmart is enough to bring an ironic smile to your face.

But that’s Buc-ee’s. Everything about the place is hilarious. And glorious.

I know it makes me a philistine, but until last week I’d never been to a Buc-ee’s. I fixed that in Alabama as I was driving back from Florida; we dropped into the one on I-10 in Loxley, west of Mobile, and I ended up writing an American Spectator column about the experience

Buc-ee’s is about as pure a distillation of American capitalism as there has ever been. Think of a cross between a convenience store and Godzilla, a nuclear explosion of the free-market impulse that creates so many revenue streams and product lines as to reach a level of wildly entertaining absurdity. It’s like McDonald’s, Walmart, and Disney World converged on a 7-Eleven, and the fusion reaction gave birth to a capitalistic T-Rex with big buck teeth and a goofy smile on his face to serve the finest fountain drinks and junk food man has ever seen.

With the cheapest gas and cleanest restrooms — typically more than 30 urinals and 50 stalls in each store, by the way — that you’ll find anywhere.

My Buc-ee’s epiphany came in the middle of nowhere. The Buc-ee’s website lists Store #42 as residing in Loxley, Alabama, though the actual address of the place is in Robertsdale, Alabama. And the address says the store is on County Road 68, but that isn’t what you see when you turn in.

You stop at a light after exiting I-10 and turning south, and your cross street that leads you to Convenience Store Nirvana is … Buc-ee’s Boulevard.

And when you arrive, there are literally dozens of gas pumps.

Dozens. I’m talking about 100 of them.

People are everywhere. At 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, it looked like Talladega or the Daytona 500. There might have been 1,000 people in and around the store when we pulled in.

A few of them were getting ice out of the TWENTY different freezers set along the outside of one wall. Those were placed next to a selection of gigantic barbecue smokers, which were in turn next to a selection of cast-iron fire pits for sale.

And inside it looked like Grand Central Station. I’ll admit I was momentarily dizzy.

In the far-right corner was a bank of Icee dispensers. I counted 16 different flavors of Icees. Then there were 30 different coffee dispensers pumping out some of the hottest coffee known to mankind. Not to mention a bank of drink fountains offering every kind of soda drink you’ve ever heard of and quite a few you haven’t.

Every manner of commercial snack known to man is sold at Buc-ee’s, from Funyuns to Snickers bars. But that isn’t significant.

What is significant is the Beaver Nuggets, perhaps the world’s best caramel corn sold in embarrassingly large bags. Or the more than 20 different flavors of beef jerky, available in delicatessen-style displays along the back wall (the Mesquite Peppered jerky and the Cherry Maple jerky were the two I fell in love with).

But the Buc-ee’s brisket tacos might just be the greatest convenience-store food ever invented.

All of the employees smile, hustle, and joke with the customers. There’s a Black Friday rush atmosphere to the place, and yet there is no line at the checkout counters, every single one of which is manned by a cashier who works efficiently and enthusiastically — and for a reason: Buc-ee’s pays their employees exceptionally well. A sign at the gas pumps advertises $18-an-hour wages for the lowest positions, up to $200,000 per year or more for a store manager.

It’s a capitalistic shangri-la. No better shrine to productive, happy prosperity has ever graced our beautiful planet. It’s a place that utterly trumps, somewhat hilariously so, all of the grifting and griping of the American Left.

There are no social problems at Buc-ee’s. Beef jerky knows no race, and brisket tacos know no gender. Beaver nuggets and fried pecans have no politics. And if you believe any of this harms the planet, we laugh at your derangement.

Greta Thunberg might just be fed to the beaver if she were ever to complain about a Buc-ee’s.

It might sound stupid to say it: this is about as close to heaven as roadside commerce can get.

There’s a Buc-ee’s coming in Ruston, along I-20. There’s another one coming just across the state line in Mississippi, between Biloxi and Gulfport on I-10. At some point it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a Buc-ee’s turn up on I-49 in or around Alexandria.

All of this makes a Baton Rouge resident seethe all the more about the fact there could have been a Buc-ee’s in this town years ago but for the slimy, disgusting way that our local pols do business. There was going to be a Buc-ee’s at the Millerville I-12 exit on the east side of town, and then there wasn’t – and the implication was that somebody tried to shake the company down for permits, etc.

Which would surprise absolutely no one if it happened.

That was 2019, and five years later we’re finally seeing Buc-ee’s make plans to put locations in Louisiana.


The interesting, and sad, thing about that is Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, the founder of Buc-ee’s, is from Louisiana. He grew up in Harrisonburg, which is a hole in the road in Catahoula Parish, and worked in his grandfather’s general store there.

Aplin ended up in Texas, graduated from Texas A&M, and launched a business career there. The first Buc-ee’s went up in 1982 outside of Lake Jackson.

And obviously he was in zero rush to expand that chain into Louisiana.

It’s great we’re getting a couple of Buc-ee’s locations. But it ought to be a pretty sobering recognition that it’s happening this slowly, and we should think very hard about whether we can afford not to change the circumstances which have led to that inactivity.

Especially when we have an opportunity to change those circumstances.



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