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"What's in the Name": Buc-ee's

:By Jim Walters


This month, we simply must consider the story behind the name of Arch Aplin III. The grandson of the original Arch Aplin, Arch number three was born in Lake Jackson, Texas.  He loved to visit his namesake grandfather over in Harrison Arkansas, where the family owned and operated a little gas station and convenience store – Aplins’ Biggest Little Store, they called it.   

 

As a young teen, Arch III loved to work at that store- -pumping gas, working the register, chatting with the customers. Store-keeping just got into his blood.  

 

For reasons unknow, Arch III had acquired a nickname—Beaver—one of those nicknames that will stick for a lifetime.  Maybe he had “buck teeth” (I don’t know) but he embraced the moniker anyway, laughed at himself, and even named his pet hunting dog “Buc-ee.”  

 



After graduating college with a degree in construction, Arch decided to build his own little convenience store, right there near Lake Jackson. One store led to the next, and after thirty years of expanding, Arch Aplin’s “BUC-EEs” travel stops are bigger than Texas. So now you know what’s in the name…of Buc-ee’s!    

 

For those who have yet to experience The Beaver, get ready for 100 gas pumps, 40 flavors of soft drinks, nine kinds of fudge, and four of the best BBQ sandwiches on the planet. Plus, more varieties of Colorado souvenirs than you thought existed. One caveat: no tables and no chairs anywhere- the snacks are strictly for “grab and go.” 

 

Oh, you might ask, “Will this hurt our beloved Johnson’s Corners?” Probably not, because (1) Buc-ee’s does not sell to Semi Trucks, and (2) Johnson’s has a sit-down café (and the best cinnamon rolls anywhere).  Joe and Virginia Johnson opened the gas station and restaurant in 1952, (before there was an Interstate!) and every little has changed since then.  



But what about Love’s Travel Stop, one exit to the south?  Love’s is the largest travel stop network in the USA- with 644 stores- most of which have restaurants, showers for truckers, and maintenance for the trucks. They cater to trucks and have a huge loyal following of drivers. They will be fine.  

 

Back to Buc-ee’s, there’s one more reason people love the Beaver---and that is, the cleanest restrooms you have ever seen. I am not making this up! An Association of Restroom Suppliers actually awarded Buc-ee’s their # 1 honor for cleanliness. 

 

When the doors fly open in mid-March, you might even get to meet Arch Aplin III in person. Look for a 60-ish looking fellow, not too tall but with a big broad cowboy hat. His boots will have a Buc-ee’s logo on them, and he will be smiling from ear to ear. 

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