Spirits were high and smiles wide as state and local leaders gathered with a crowd of community members on Monday morning to celebrate the long-anticipated grand-opening of Buc-ee's in Auburn.
A popular travel center known for its fresh food, beaver nuggets, spotless bathrooms, good service and rows of gas pumps, Buc-ee's will serve as the anchor tenant off of Exit 50 in an area of Auburn primed for development.
Numerous state and local leaders attended the opening ceremony, including U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, State Sen. Jay Hovey, State Rep. Joe Lovvorn, most Auburn City Council members and Mayor Ron Anders, who noted the impact Buc-ee's will have on the area around Exit 50.
"Not that long ago, Exit 50 was a very, very quiet place in the woods with a two-lane road heading into the south of our state," said Anders, who addressed the crowd at a podium set up in front of a large inflatable of the company's beaver mascot. "But now, Buc-ee's will be a great addition to travelers along this key I-85 corridor between Atlanta and Montgomery.
"But this is only the beginning. Buc-ee's has established an anchor here at Exit 50 that will spur growth and redevelopment in this area for years to come."
In addition to bringing roughly 200 good-paying jobs to Auburn, Buc-ee's is expected to generate more than $2 million in revenue annually for city and county coffers.
"The property taxes and sales taxes that will be generated from this establishment will boost the city services as well as public education in our city and across the county," said Anders.
Buc-ee's will also donate $50,000 annually to be distributed by the city of Auburn at its discretion toward community programs and activities.
"We've come to believe that rather than deciding what communities need or what's the best use of a corporate donation, if you will, rather than us deciding that because we're headquartered in Texas, we think it's better to give the local leadership in the community the wherewithal and opportunity to decide what to do with those donations," said Arch "Beaver" Aplin, co-founder of Buc-ee's, at Monday's ceremony. "We think that's powerful. We think it gets to the right places."
Aplin also gave a nod to Tuberville's recollections of taking family trips and stopping at places like Buc-ee's while on the road.
"Some of the best times in my life were traveling with my mom and dad, my brother and sister, and stopping at places like this where you could get out, have fun, enjoy things. Well, Buc-ee's has brought that back to our country," Tuberville said.
"That's kind of what we try to duplicate every day, is make great experiences for families while they travel," responded Aplin when he took to the podium.
The Buc-ee's in Auburn is the latest store coming online in the company aggressive expansion outside of Texas. The company now operates 45 stores, including new locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee, with more planned for Colorado and Missouri.
On Monday at Buc-ee's Auburn location, excited residents crowded into the new 53,000 square-foot building to browse all of the offerings, including a wall of beef jerky, clothing racks, assorted knick-knacks, and plenty of fresh food choices.
"I want to thank Beaver and Buc-ee's for their collaboration with the city and their willingness to work and celebrate the community," said Hovey, who was still an Auburn City Councilman when the company broke ground on its Auburn store in the fall of 2021.
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