The City of Leeds is pleased to announce that the Texas based mega-travel center Buc-ee’s opened its doors in Leeds, Alabama on Monday, January 25, 2021. In celebration, Leeds Mayor David Miller and Buc-ee’s Owner & CEO Arch “Beaver” Aplin, III cut the ribbon with a host of city, county and state officials, chamber of commerce liaisons, area business owners and professionals, Buc-ee’s staff members and visitors.
Buc-ee’s is definitely the premier travel center chain in the country and by far the most sought after by municipalities and Leeds is their second Alabama location to open. Buc-ee’s is not just about size, although their 100+ gas pumps, 54,000 sq. ft. retail store, 200+ employees and numerous super clean restrooms puts them in a class by themselves for this type store; especially, since they are not a truck stop and do not even allow big trucks on the property. More than size, Buc-ee’s boasts a unique selection of travel related and outdoor merchandise as well as a huge variety of food and snack items. When asked what Mayor Miller would be purchasing from Buc-ee’s, he said, “well, I’ve heard you can buy anything from a piece of bubblegum to a $1000 pair of cowboy boots and I will probably be purchasing something somewhere in between.”
Mayor Miller spoke about the wonderful experience on the work, planning and interaction with owner and staff members all along the way. “The opening of Buc-ee’s is a big win and dealing with the folks from Buc-ee’s has been a pleasure. This is a huge step forward and will positively affect the economic condition of the City of Leeds well in to the future. We’ve had lots of competition to get this. I guess every city of any size would love to have a Buc-ee’s. In Texas, everybody knows Buc-ee’s, but when we mentioned that Leeds was getting a Buc-ee’s, people initially just didn’t know what to think. As the word got out and people began to understand the significance, excitement grew.” Mayor said he got one email that told him, “all we need is another damn gas station.” Little did he know!
The Leeds store is slightly larger than the store in Loxley, Alabama. There are hundreds of displays with snacks, food items, drinks, clothing, home décor, furniture, gift items, and besides their fame for being the world’s most amazing convenience store and having the cleanest restrooms, Buc-ee’s is famous for their own brand of barbeque called Round Up, their Beaver Nuggets which are addicting corn nuggets covered with sweet caramel and sugar and also their really cheap ice. For cyclers, there’s even a cycler station in the parking lot for those who ride bike trails through Leeds. When you visit, you’ll see staff members busy hustling and bustling with their smiling faces and excellent customer service to help each customer with their selections and purchases.
Aplin shared with the crowd, “This is exciting for us. We’re every bit as excited as Leeds is to open this Buc-ee’s. The leadership here in Leeds, the experience was exceptional from the “git-go”. We’ve felt welcome. While it’s true that not everybody knows what we do, because quite frankly, we haven’t been out of Texas long, we felt like they understood what we were trying to bring to the community. Our first store outside the state of Texas was Alabama so I can assure you we love the state. We opened in Georgia so this is our third store out of Texas. We’re very excited about the opportunity to be here in the southeast to bring what we bring what we bring and show everybody what we do. We hope very rapidly to increase the number of people who’ve had our experience. We take great pride. This is the only job I’ve ever had so I started this immediately after college. It’s all I’ve ever done. It’s all we do. I can assure you we’re 100% committed to excellence, to being clean, to being friendly and to have a great store experience for everybody here. Sometimes, we do overcome that hurdle, because we do sell gasoline. People call us a gas station and I’m not sure what we should call ourselves, but we’d like to take it to the next level of being a gas station. We’ll put our best foot forward every day to do the best we can to exceed your expectations in the community and in the state of Alabama…and for you Tide fans, congratulations on your national championship!”
So exactly what is Buc-ee’s? It’s a mega convenience store, travel stop, souvenir shop, retail store, gas station and restaurant all in one with loads of merchandise in every category. Plan to stop in and stay a while. You’ll want to shop every single isle, because there’s so much to choose from!
Group Ribbon Cutting Photo Ribbon Cutting Photos L-R: Buc-ee’s Staff Telesha Forsythe, City Attorney Scott Brunson, Former Council Linda Miller, Council Johnny Dutton, Council Eric Turner, Buc-ee’s Owner Arch “Beaver” Aplin, III, Council Kenneth Washington, Mayor David Miller, Jefferson County Commission Joe Knight, Council DeVoris Ragland-Pierce, State Representative Dickie Drake, City Judge Cliff Price, Buc-ee’s Manager Michael Bui, Council Ryan Bell, Beaver Mascot, Chamber Board Fred Britt, Chamber Executive Director Sandra McGuire.
With 39 stores and growing, Buc-ee’s has made a positive impact in every city it has landed. In Loxley, Alabama’s tax revenue double and has changed their whole dynamics. They have already benefited from other companies locating in Loxley and other businesses expanding just because Buc-ee’s opened there. Besides Alabama, Buc-ee’s is expanding in Georgia and Florida.
Leeds is very excited about the tremendous impact expected with the opportunity of getting the Buc-ee’s mega-store. 281 local people have already been hired with wages well above minimum wage and the store is still hiring. Buc-ee’s offers good paying jobs with wages from $14-16 per hour for cashiers and gift associates to $26 per hour for manager trainees with full-time positions available, health insurance, 401k and paid time off.
Hotels, restaurants and many other businesses have already contacted Leeds about locating there. Beyond Buc-ee’s, Leeds has nine new subdivisions under construction. The City of Leeds has been selected as the healthiest real estate market in the state, partly because everyone knows Leeds is getting a Buc-ee’s. Recently, houses have only been on the market an average of 8 days. The City is currently working on a significant enterprise behind the Grand River development that would include building a bridge across the Cahaba River on a site that has already been approved by the Cahaba River Society. They are also looking at 275 acres there to possibly build a regional sports park. Surrounding the sports park are plans for 900 homes. There’s also another 2500-3000 acres for residential development. The City is currently meeting with some of the people regarding financial and logistics and expect to have a firm update in the new few weeks.
Leeds, the City of Valor, has truly become an Alabama regional destination adding Buc-ee’s to the list of premier sites including Barber Motorsports & Museum, Bass Pro Shop, Shops of Grand River, Grand River Drive-In and the soon to come Southern Museum of Flight and Grand River Technology Park located at Exit 140 on I-20 as well as their marvelous downtown shops and historic landmarks as well as their southern charm.
Not only Leeds, but the county will benefit from the gas tax revenue with 81 million gallons of gas estimated to be pumped the first year. With Buc-ee’s being a travel destination, people will come from far and wide just to visit, not to mention regular Interstate travelers and area residents.