Oklahoma Still Needs a Buc-ee’s

Over the past month or so, I’ve heard whispers via the Ogle Mole Network that Buc-ee’s – the beloved interstate travel stop chain that dots all of Texas and some of the Gulf Coast – may be acquiring land for an Oklahoma location soon, perhaps near RiverWind along I-35, or along the new turnpike that connects I-40 and I-44 in Eastern Oklahoma County.

Yes, it’s a rumor – and yes, I have no clue if it’s true – but just like any good hard-hitting Internet journalist looking to irritate Steve Lackmeyer, I’ve heard enough chatter to toss it out there. Plus, even if it is bullshit, maybe desperate reports like this will make Buc-ee’s feel sorry for us. I still think that’s the only reason OKC got a Trader Joe’s.

Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about this ode to Buc-ee’s that Brandon published last year. Here it is for your full enjoyment:

Walking into a Buc-ee’s feels like pilfering through Mary Poppin’s bag — there’s everything you could want there. Biblical amounts of beef jerky? Got it. Western decor to make a Midwest mother proud? You bet. Enough snacks and trademark Beaver Nuggets to overfeed a small country? It’s Texas-sized for a reason, pal.

In case you were curious, these are beaver nuggets:

Remember cereal from your childhood? It’s basically this.

One of the hallmarks of a gas station stop is the bathroom visit. This is where all disease and odd smells meet a rogue pubic hair on a toilet rim. Not to mention the puddle of pee you have to step over and ignore. This is where my admiration turned into obsession.

These gargantuan bathrooms are where restrooms meet luxury. A large variety of well-spaced urinals wait along each wall of the men’s room, with enough sinks to wash sin away. The toilet stalls are fully enclosed with functioning locks. I’m not sure what the women’s restroom was like, but I can only assume it was like a giant she-shed filled with potpourri and lit by moonlight.

There are other things to like about Buc-ee’s. From what I’ve heard, employees’ wages begin at $13-$15 an hour. It then jumps to $20 and up…plus 40+ hour work week, 401K, healthcare and three weeks of paid time off.

So, why doesn’t Oklahoma have a Buc-ee’s? What’s wrong with venturing north of the Red River? It’s just an arbitrary border, right?

According to a well-titled feature article in Texas Monthly, I guess it has to do with supply chain economics and not wanting to be the next Whataburger:

In the eighties, Whataburger embarked on an aggressive expansion strategy outside Texas. The company added menu items like popcorn shrimp salads and steak sandwiches that it hoped would diversify its appeal. Instead, the company failed to catch on in locations including Las Vegas and Memphis, where residents greeted the arrival of new Whataburgers with little enthusiasm. “We got spread too thin,” one Whataburger executive told Texas Monthly in 2000. “People didn’t know who we were. We didn’t have that Texas heritage and Texas tradition to play off of.”

Whataburger eventually righted itself, partially by retrenching, but the lesson remains. Sometimes a business can expand beyond its appeal. Sometimes the magic that makes people identify emotionally with a profit-seeking enterprise can evaporate. Maybe the good people of Alabama and Florida will thrill to Buc-ee’s just as much as Texans do. Or maybe they’ll look at the Disney World of convenience stores and just see an oversized convenience store.

To Arch Alpin III, the owner/ founder of Buc-ee’s, I would just like to say that the Oklahoma City metro has proudly supported Whataburger all these years and would likely do the same for Buc-ee’s—especially if it happened to be at a location just south of Norman. Once again, it’s not like we have a QuikTrip to turn to. We welcome a Buc-ee’s invasion in Oklahoma with open arms!

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31 Responses

  1. Quoted from above: “So, why doesn’t Oklahoma have a Buc-ee’s?”

    More than likely it’s the $13 to $15 jumping to $20/hr and up wage they pay plus benefits.
    Those wages are WAY too livable for working class Okies.

  2. I love me some Buc-ee’s! Bring it on!!!

  3. Yes, there is much to admire. Given its size and the fact that Bucee’s caters to travelers, you would think they would have a spot for nursing moms or a place to sit down and eat some of that tempting food. Sadly, they don’t. I like Bucees and the assortment of things for sale is overwhelming, but after visiting one, I just have to say it was disappointing.

  4. Only in Oklahoma do we consider a acquiring a luxury convenience store a step up. Maybe Beaver Nuggets and clean restrooms are all we can really aim for.

  5. Could we start a campaign to get OKC a Culver’s? They put Freddie’s to shame.

    1. YES!!!!!!! Culver’s is one of the ‘must-do’ places when we go to Kansas City. The burgers are fantastic. That said, I do enjoy Freddie’s as well.

  6. Do we really need another convenience store full of crap to sell?? We already have Loves.

  7. Oklahomans don’t deserve a Bucees. Just drive to Fort Worth or Denton and get your fix.

    Oklahomans do deserve an In & Out Burger because the food is terrible.

    1. Yes, In & Out was a disappointment. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.

      1. The price point. Are there better burgers? Sure, Five Guys is much better, but there burgers are 8 or 9 dollars, and up. In & Out delivers a burger much better than other fast food options at a reasonable price. That’s the fuss.

  8. A few things:

    Culver’s is much better than Freddie’s. Also, their concretes are competitive with Braum’s, and the crinkle cut fries are much better than Braum’s as well. Every time I go to Braum’s, I always sub out the undercooked fries for a strawberry Greek yogurt, with absolutely zero regrets.

    I would also take In-N-Out up here as well. They’re not what everyone makes them out to be, but they’re not horrible either. With their processing plant in DFW, and a store recently opening up in Stafford, Texas, distance and location are no longer an excuse for the California burger giant to open up in OKC.

    This ‘Oklahomans don’t deserve’ bullshit has to stop. We have had a competitive NBA team for well over a decade (which has also been well supported). So, all of this trashy-ass stereotyping of Oklahomans not deserving good things is a jackass mentality.

    As for Buc-ee’s…..the sliced brisket alone is worth one being built up here. I know that Alabama and Florida widely support the stores in their locations, and Whataburger has had multiple locations here for decades.

    Buc-ee’s would end up like CostCo. CostCo built in Tulsa first, averse to OKC because of being from Seattle (and some bitterness about the SuperSonics relocating here). But, because of the success of the store off of Memorial Road and the Kilpatrick Turnpike (along with beneficial tax breaks provided by the City Council), CostCo now has bought the old Hertz building off of Quail Spring Parkway and plans to hire 500 call center representatives by the end of the year. According to News9, the job will pay $59,000 per year.

    1. You bring up some valid points. My comment was mostly in jest. We don’t need a Bucees near the center of the state. If it was outside of Tulsa or near Ardmore I would be somewhat fine with it. It’s a travel stop and since it’s based out of Texas it’s a nice diversion when driving to Houston, San Antonio, or Austin. It loses its charm, uniqueness, and novelty when it’s only 20 miles away from your home. Wear a Bucees shirt in Texas, meh, who cares. Wear one in Oklahoma, okay somewhat distinct. Wear one in Chicago, then it becomes a conversational topic.

      When compared to most Oklahoma BBQ, I will agree that Bucees is better. If you’re in Texas though, why are you going for BBQ at Bucees. So… many… better… places.

      By the way the Costco call center jobs salaries have been reduced by at least $10k since News9 reported on it.

      One final thing, the “but we have a NBA team” has to stop. The city and state citizens that throw up that argument have a serious inferiority complex that is tied to the #OklahomaStandard and nothing good that comes to the state will fix that.

      1. It’s not just the ‘We have an NBA team,’ aspect that I’m bringing up. Any locale can have an NBA team that can be absolutely trash. Look at the Kings for the last 20 years. Look at the Clippers until they got under new ownership. Look at the Orlando Magic.

        It’s that OKC adopted a winning model from San Antonio to always stay competitive. Granted, the Spurs postseason streak finally ended after 22 consecutive years. But, that streak in professional sports is rather impressive.

        The point is that we’re not hicks from the sticks with an NBA team. We’ve earned every amount of success that we’ve gotten here, and people still want to stereotype us like we have to accept being mediocre or second-rate. It’s a gutter mindset that I will never associate with.

        Another point that I’ll make is that the bad reputation of Oklahoma BBQ is absolutely nuked at two locations in this state. Butcher Stand BBQ in Wellston and Clark Crew BBQ just off NW Expressway are world class, and this is speaking from somebody that has eaten at Franklin BBQ in Austin. Is it Franklin? No. But, is it Tier 1 BBQ? Absolutely. I’d rank both spots right up there with Gates BBQ in Kansas City.

        As for why Texans eat Buc-ees? Price per quality product has a lot to do with it. You can get a brisket sandwich for $5.99. A whole brisket at Franklin can run you $200. Not everybody can afford a road trip to Austin, much less pay $200 for a whole brisket. If you just wanted a brisket sandwich at Franklin, it’s $12. You get what you pay for, but convenience is key as well.

        As for needing a Buc-ee’s in the metro? That’s subject to individual opinion. Oklahoma City alone has over 600 square miles, much of which is still underdeveloped or undeveloped. Personally, if I had to choose between a Buc-ee’s or a QuikTrip, I’m taking a Buc-ee’s ten times out of ten.

        Maybe once a few stores have been built here, and when 7/11 takes over half of Tulsa under their new ownership, QT will realize the error of their ways…..only to be phased out by the competition to where they aren’t needed in Central Oklahoma at all.

    2. Alabama and Florida are not the only states getting new locations of Bucees!

      Here is the list of all non-Texas Bucees locations that are coming soon:
      Anderson, SC (I-85) *my town
      Florence, SC (I-95)
      Warner Robbins, GA (I-75)
      Calhoun, GA (I-75)
      Crossville, TN (I-40)
      Richmond, KY (I-75)
      Leeds, AL (I-20)
      Daytona Beach, FL (I-95)
      St. Augustine, FL (I-95)
      Fort Myers, FL (I-75)

  9. The ghost of John Steinbeck will never be exorcised from the Okie collective conscience !

    1. Maybe in the minds of RURAL Oklahomans. This is 2020. Steinbeck has been dead for over 50 years. He wouldn’t recognize this place anymore, and it would probably piss him off that we don’t fit his dumb ass, antiquated stereotype anymore.

  10. Tim Horton’s anyone?

    1. For poutine, eh?

    2. Meh, it’s owned by Burger King now, kind of killed my interest in it.

  11. This rumor has been around since last fall. Wouldn’t surprise me if it ends up true. But it’s difficult to see it happening until the pandemic is under control. I could be wrong. But heck, if you scoop me, cool. Buc-ees is definitely unique.

    1. If they scoop you like OKC Talk does often, you’ll just take credit for it later anyway.

      1. Yeah, that’s pure fiction. You should get a life if you’re falling for that crock of bull.

        1. Steve – go back to the thing you do the best – shining the turd that is downtown OKC.

    2. Steve Lackmeyer,

      They just bought land here where I live in Anderson, SC. They plan to work with SCDOT to do some infrastructure improvements and get the store under construction in a quici and irderly fashion. So… they are not at a complete standstill. I thin OK could handle a location!

  12. Bucc-ees really doesn’t do “all” of Texas as the article states. There are no locations anywhere in Texas west of I-35, so no Amarillo, Abilene, Wichita Falls, Lubbock, El Paso, Midland/Odessa, etc.

  13. Bucc-ees where Crossroads mall currently is, intersection of 35 and 240… It’s got the traffic to support a Bucc-ees.

    1. GENIUS! It would be profitable, and a good way to fill up the space at the former mall. I like it.

  14. ” So, all of this trashy-ass stereotyping of Oklahomans not deserving good things is a jackass mentality.”

    Mike S. looks like you misunderstood the entire raison d’etre of The Lost Ogle.

    1. I know the difference between satire and derision, thank you very much. I’m very appreciative of the former, and will always call bullshit on the latter.

  15. I work for Buc-ee’s in Ennis, Texas, $13 an hour is a generous starting pay in the five State area. We have a lot of Oklahoma residents come down from Oklahoma to Buc-ee’s to shop. I think it’s time for Oklahoma to have a Buc-ee’s or two

  16. I second the comment on comparing In-and-Out with 5 Guys. Both burgers joints but still apples and oranges, The last time I ate at 5 Guys a cheeseburger($9.84) , fries($3.96) and a soft drink ($3.06) totaled $16.86 plus tax. No combo deals. An In-N- Out Double-Double combo with cheeseburger, fries and a drink cost $5.65 plus tax. At In-N-Out it looks like the burger is free. The 5 Guys is marginally better but not even remotely worth the difference in price. In fact I think 5 Guys is a colossal ripoff. One can get a hella better lunch for $17.

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