SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Visitors heading into the Great Smoky Mountains from I-40 will be able to stop at a Buc-ee’s along the way in about a year and a half. On Friday, the company officially broke ground on what’s going to be the largest convenience store in the world.
The new Buc-ee’s location is being built just off the 407 exit. It’s the first-named business going into the Kituwah, LLC and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ project dubbed “The 407: Gateway to Adventure.” Sevier County and Sevierville leaders, leaders and royalty of the EBCI, project developers and the president of Buc-ee’s were all at the groundbreaking Friday.
The travel center will be 74,000-square-feet complete with 120 fueling positions, EV Charging stations and a car wash over 250 feet long. Texas is the home of the original Buc-ee’s, but Beaver Aplin, the president of the travel center company, said Sevierville will make a great new residence.
“I hope y’all are right that this is the best store we have. By all rights, the traffic that y’all have, the visitors, and the store that we’re going to build, I would be surprised that it wasn’t,” Aplin said.
He said he’d been eyeing East Tennessee, specifically Sevier County, for a Buc-ee’s location for a few years, but there was never a spot big enough to build the world’s largest. That is, not until the EBCI made one.
“This was literally a mountain top. And so, when they called me and said they found a location in Sevierville and told me where it was, I said, ‘That’s a mountain.’ And so, we were so fortunate that the tribe was willing to buy this property,” Aplin said.
Two Buc-ee’s fans showed up at the groundbreaking and explained in their own words what people can expect when stopping at a Buc-ee’s.
“Clean bathrooms. Clean bathrooms, clean bathrooms,” Melanie Alberts, a Sevierville resident, said. Alberts and her husband Jack used to live in Texas. They loved stopping at Buc-ee’s any chance they got.
“We moved from Texas about three years ago and one of the sad things about leaving Texas was we were leaving Buc-ee’s,” Alberts said. Alberts said she loved everything about Buc-ee’s, such as the variety of fresh food and random gifts you usually wouldn’t see in a convenience store.
“I mean, you can find anything and everything and more you thought you needed for a road trip. They’ve got fun, they’ve got fun shirts to wear,” Alberts said. Alberts’ favorite food is the yogurt-covered pretzels —she said they have just about any flavor you can think of.
Her husband’s favorite is the beef jerky. As for Aplin, his favorite is the fresh BBQ. “I get the sliced brisket sandwich. I get the homemade potato chips. We literally slice the potato, cook ’em there. Unbelievable,” Aplin said.
For dessert, he likes to grab the Beaver Nuggets. With all that coming to Sevierville, it’s safe to say the Alberts can’t wait for the Buc-ee’s to open in their town. “We do have a trip to Texas planned in March. Which will include a stop at at least one Buc-ee’s. But yeah, we’ll be counting the days,” Alberts said.