By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
CROSSVILLE – In one of the largest ribbon cuttings in recent Upper Cumberland history, hundreds of beaver fans joined state, local and federal officials in welcoming Buc-ee’s to Crossville on Monday, June 27.
Buc-ee’s’ founder Arch “Beaver” Aplin III said that the company was excited to be opening its 50th travel center in Crossville.
He praised their workforce for the versatility they had shown on the opening day, but added, “My commitment to you is that every day will be like today. It’s not just opening day. This is how we operate; every day will be like today.”
Aplin also pointed out the billboard beside the adjacent interstate that advertised jobs paying $16-20 per hour plus benefits.
“That’s our commitment to this community and this state,” Aplin stated. “We’re going to come in here, and we’re going to be at the upper echelon of quality jobs and pay scale. So, everyone can work here and have a great opportunity for the dream of their own.”
“From hiring locals to really good jobs, to honoring our first responders, your team has shown that you are going to be great corporate partners, and we appreciate that,” said Cumberland County Mayor Allen Foster.
Buc-ee’s opened on Monday at 6 a.m. and by the ribbon cutting at 11 a.m., thousands of people had visited the store. The parking lot was reminiscent of a mall lot on Black Friday with cars lined up awaiting a space to open up.
“Three and a half years ago, we were having a meeting and talking about the Buc-ee’s’ project, and I asked how long will it take before it’s busy?” recounted Foster. “I think it was Stan that responded, ‘Immediately.’ Stan, I know you are here somewhere, and I do believe you now.”
The Grand Opening attracted people from as far away as Innis, Texas. There were also people from Louisiana, Florida and several other states that had traveled to Crossville for the sole purpose of attending the opening of another Buc-ee’s.
Karen Harris of Greenbrier, Tennessee brought her daughter and a friend to visit the new Buc-ee’s location. She is a long-time fan of the travel center and has visited four locations in Texas multiple times and one on the Louisiana border.
“I’m super excited about it,” she said. “I’m super excited that it’s only two hours from home and I don’t have to wait and drive. I’ve never met Bucky and I figured this would be the best chance to.”
Buc-ee’s is a Texas-based travel center known for its clean bathrooms and vast selection of food, including brisket, homemade fudge, kolaches, jerky, pastries and “Beaver nuggets.”
The Crossville Buc-ee’s has almost 54,000 square-feet of shopping area with 120 fueling stations.
Special thanks to Karlie Sikorski, who will assume the role of Bu-cee, the travel center’s mascot, for her help with this story.