By: Katie Garwood
Hundreds flocked to the opening of Buc-ee’s in St. Johns County on Feb. 22 to check out the 53,000-square-foot convenience store or pump gas at one of its 104 fueling stations.
Buc-ee’s leadership, the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce and county government officials gathered in front of the inflatable beaver for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. to mark the opening of the chain’s first Florida location.
The site is at 200 World Commerce Parkway at the Interstate 95 and International Golf Parkway interchange near World Golf Village.
“We’re a Texas company and I’ve been thinking about opening a store in Florida for a long time,” said Buc-ee’s CEO Arch “Beaver” Aplin. “It’s been a long time coming … This is a big deal for me and it’s a big deal for our company.”
The store, which is open 24 hours a day, offers an array of food, drinks and merchandise. There are breakfast sandwiches, barbecue, jerky, fudge, coated walnuts, snacks, wraps, burritos and more.
Buc-ee’s also offers a self-service coffee station, Icees, beer and wine and soft drinks.
Merchandise ranges from T-shirts and hats to barbecue pits and boogie boards.
Signs outside the store advertised job openings at hourly pay rates for cashiers from $15-$17, maintenance or car wash jobs for $16-$18, team leader positions for $17-$20 and management trainees for at least $26.
“It’s only fitting that the first shop they built in Florida is in the St. Augustine area,” said St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron.
“We’re the nation’s oldest city and we appreciate you making the investment in our community with the jobs and the outreach they do. I think it will be a great business in our community for a long time.”
Buc-ee’s says it has 38 stores in Texas and began expanding outside the state in 2019. It also has stores in Loxley, Leeds and Robertsdale, Alabama, and Fort Valley, Georgia. Another is under development in Florence, South Carolina.
Aplin said his team looked up and down I-95, eventually settling on St. Johns County. Another location will open in Daytona Beach next month.
“We’re looking for more locations in Florida,” Aplin said. “I’d like to have multiple stores, obviously these two, but we’re absolutely looking at Florida.”