A beaver bearing a red hat will give motorists another reason to make a pit stop in eastern Ellis County.
The Buc-ee’s chain of convenience stores, renowned for its clean restrooms, Texas-themed items, and cartoon mascot has selected Ennis for a new location that will open in 2019.
Ennis Mayor Angie Juenemann is excited about possibilities that a development like Buc-ee’s can bring to the city. She shared that the community is already abuzz about the store making its new home in Ennis.
“The initial Facebook post announcing the new travel center has reached over 200,000 people. There is a lot of excitement but still a bit of ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’” Juenemann said. “I love that bit of surprise and incredulity, that is a part of what makes Ennis such a unique and wonderful place to live, work, and play.”
Juenemann shared that she is a big fan of the convenience store's products and experience that it offers.
“They have the cleanest bathrooms in the world, beaver nuggets, beef jerky, and trail mix as far as the eye can see – it just doesn’t get any better than that,” Juenemann recalled. “Buc-ee’s is truly an experiential destination. We plan our trips are going from one Buc-ee’s to the next.”
The $30-plus million travel center is expected to be 52,000 square feet and located on an 80-acre tract of land at the southeast corner of Interstate Highway 45 and Creechville Road. Construction is anticipated to take 12-18 months with an opening planned for May or June 2019.
Texas Monthly reported motorists who stop by a Buc-ee's could choose from more than 80 kinds of fountain drinks, 31 types of jerky, and corn puffs known as Beaver Nuggets. It also has T-shirts adorned with its mascot, and caps. As a part of the agreement with Buc-ee’s the store will provide space for Ennis visitor and guest products and information.
A news release from Buc-ee’s shows that it has 41 stores, with several in development.
Forbes magazine estimates that revenues for the privately-held company were over $275 million in 2016. Owners Arch “Beaver” Aplin III and Don Wasek opened the first Buc-ee’s store in 1982 in Lake Jackson.
Juenemann explained that Buc-ee’s will have a significant impact on the Ennis' economy, as well. She expects around 5,000-7,000 vehicles per day and 55,000-60,000 vehicles per week to stop at the store. Sales are expected to be $20-25 million. Of that amount, $2.5 million or 10 percent is coming from Ennis residents. The remaining 90 percent of sales are from outside of the community —roughly $18-$22.5 million. Over 18 million gallons of fuel is expected to be sold from the location yearly.
When in operation, the store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a staff of 175-225 people. Its annual payroll will be about $6 million.
Juenemann shared the city’s small-town Texas values are what makes it so alluring and charming to people and businesses in addition to the location.
She noted that these factors have contributed to Ennis experiencing development in downtown, retail, industrial, commercial, and residential areas.
“One of the strategies we adopted was to change the conversation about opportunities to invest and develop in Ennis,” Juenemann said. “When you consider the size of our retail trade area, Ennis is a City of 40,000 plus. When we communicate that distinction and talk about our unique location, ‘South of Dallas’ being the next ‘big opportunity,’ we began to attract developers and investors.”
Juenemann explained that the city is close enough to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to access its amenities but far enough away to maintain its identity and not become another suburb.