Based on the constant traffic in the store, I am pretty sure I am not the only person that is in love with Buc ee's. The question I keep asking myself is, why am I so obsessed with visiting a gas station off the side of the highway? And why do I buy Buc ee's home decor?
No really, why is it that a trip to San Antonio is not complete without a stop at Buc ee's on the way home? And why do the funny billboards, counting down the miles to the exit, make our road trips so much more fun? And why is it that even a short trip to Galveston must include a stop at Buc ees?
They see me haul everyone to the restrooms, laugh historically at the outhouse with full sized talking mannequin in it, fill my giant ice tea and then stare longingly at the Mudd Pie clothes in the kids department. (And why are Mudd Pie clothes so cute and why does a gas station have the most adorable kids department?)
Then the Texas City Buc ee's managers see my daughter spend a big chunk of her garbage can money on the "cuuuuutest" stuffed puppy dogs, and then 3 kids try to negotiate for more snacks or dinner. I don't think they are worried about us misbehaving or stealing... I think they are honestly trying to put together our story.
My husband used to think the kids and I were crazy, but the more and more he drives around the ship channel and east Texas for work, the more and more Buc-ee's bags and receipts I see in his possession. And now when we go somewhere together, he just automatically stops.
So, my question still is, what makes Buc ee's so great? Well...
- The staff is very friendly and helpful, which probably has something to do with the minimum wage and vacation time. I recently spilled half of my giant 44 oz tea (all on my own, with no kid help at all). As I desperately grabbed for napkins or a rewind button, a young woman appeared and very sweetly wiped it up... with a smile.
- The bathrooms are big, bright and clean. I have been in about a million public restrooms since having potty-trained kids, and this reason is probably enough to justify my love affair with Buc-ee's.
- We like the food and drinks. We used to just grab snacks. Now we order at the computers and grab lunch or dinner to go. Beaver Tots, Veggie Wraps, Chicken Tenders... And while we wait, the employees usually offer us samples of beef jerky and fudge. And we gaze at the Mudd Pie and puppy dog section.
- There are a lot of gas pumps and the price seems to be reasonable. Getting in and out is painless (at the BIG travel centers).
- The billboards on the highway entertain us on long (and short) road trips. The kids are excited to spot them an announced how much further. Even the grown ups like how the signs speed up the trip, and the stop breaks it up. (Find all the Buc-ee's locations HERE... and the ones with a "star" are the really good ones.)
- Buc-ee the Beaver is funny. Who doesn't want their picture taken with the giant beaver in front of the store? Who doesn't want a beaver shirt or beaver koozie?
Okay, now my reason #6 has me wondering why I am totally cool with decorating in Buc-ee's home decor swag. Are reasons #1-#5 so great to make #6 acceptable?
Seriously, my question to you is, what are the marketing strategies that make me exit the highway, and even cross under it, for gas and a koozie? And am I the only one here that loves Buc ee's?