by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner – email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday morning, September 12th, 2023, a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the first Mississippi Buc-ee’s Travel Center in rural Pass Christian began. Numerous county officials, city officials, state legislative delegation, and federal representation were all present at the location grounds off Menge Avenue in northern Harrison County.
Construction of the colossal travel center, which will pan out close to 74,000 square feet, is now officially underway off Interstate 10in Harrison County. Upon completion, the travel center will include 120 fueling positions and 24 Electric Vehicle charging stations.
Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, founder and owner of the Texas-based company, is excited to expand into Mississippi. He says the Harrison County location is a perfect midway spot between the company’s Baytown, Texas store and the one in Robertsdale, Ala.
“This will fill in just nicely in Mississippi,” Aplin stated. “We’re excited to be here on Interstate 10 and the large number of EV’s are due to the people wanting to see more of these stations.”
Mississippi is part of an eight-state expansion plan that also includes North Carolina, Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Buc-ee’s currently has locations in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Harrison County Supervisor Dr. Marlin Ladner (R-Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport), who represents the area and was instrumental in making this event occur, addressed the crowd by saying, “It goes without saying that Buc-ee’s is going to be a tremendous asset to Harrison County and we appreciate the organization for getting this done.”
Mississippi House Representative Richard Bennett (R-Long Beach, Gulfport) said the construction of Buc-ee’s will subsequently bring more economic projects to an underdeveloped area.
“This is the beginning of this intersection. There’s a lot of industry coming in behind it,” Bennett said. “I think Buc-ee’s may have bought a lot of this land. This is going to be a huge economic boom for Harrison County.”
Representative Bennett admitted he was one of a few who has never been to a Buc-ee’s: “But now that they’re in Mississippi it’s a whole different ballgame. Why would I want to go spend my money outside the state? I was waiting for them to come here,” he joked.
On average, each Buc-ee’s location creates at least 200 jobs with good pay too. As of 2019, the store’s cashiers were starting out at $16 per hour while team leaders were making up to $21 per hour. For a state that has a $7.25 minimum wage, that’s a huge pay raise for many.
Each Mississippi employee is also expected to receive full benefits, a six percent matching 401K, and three weeks of paid vacation.
Besides Buc-ee’s literally being the world’s largest convenience store (for perspective, the New Braunfels, Texas location could fit 22 7-Eleven stores or two Whole Foods stores inside), it also holds the record for world’s longest car wash, clocking in at 255 feet of conveyor.
Mississippi’s first Buc-ee’s is tentatively set to open in spring 2025, according to Aplin.