Buc-ee plans first location in Virginia

Buc-ee’s, the Texas-based convenience store chain that has developed a cult following since its founding in 1982, is looking to open a location in New Kent County, the company’s first in Virginia.

The New Kent County Economic Development Authority announced plans for a 74,000 square foot store with 120 fueling stations, 557 parking spaces, 24 Tesla charging spaces and 10 bus/RV parking spaces on Interstate 64 in exit 211.

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The site is currently a grassy patch on the north side of I-64 across from the New Kent Visitors and Commerce Center. An opening date in 2027 is planned.


This Buc-ee travel center opened in Richmond, Kentucky on April 19. The facility includes a 53,000 square foot building and 120 gas pumps.

Ryan C.Hermens

The chain, which spans several states, is known for its massive retail operations, Texas barbecue and beaver-themed products. The company has operations in Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“Buc-ee’s is open 24/7 and offers our customers the cleanest washrooms and friendliest staff you can find; much less on I-64,” the company said in a statement. “Buc-ee’s is not a truck stop; 18 wheelers are not permitted on the property. Buc-ee’s is a one-of-a-kind destination.”

The location will employ 175 full-time workers earning a minimum wage of $16 to $18 an hour, the company said. These would be the easternmost Buc-ee.

Matthew J. Smolnik, New Kent County Deputy Administrator, said the location benefits from being close to Colonial Downs Racecourse. The site is on the busy road between Richmond, Williamsburg and Newport News.

“We’re unique because we have the only Thoroughbred horse track in Virginia and now we’re going to have Virginia’s first Buc-ee,” he said. “We’re really excited that this is a catalyst for more economic activity.”

The site is on the same exit as Love’s and Pilot travel centers and a $185 million AutoZone distribution center under construction.

The Virginia Department of Transportation also announced in December that it was advancing a long-awaited road widening effort for the 29-mile stretch of I-64 around exit 211. A third lane added in each steering is intended to improve circulation for the notoriously congested area.

“Obviously (Buc-ee’s) is going to target transients, but it will also help local purchases,” Smolnik said. “A lot of us get in our car and drive out of town to spend our money somewhere else, so that could be a game-changer to keep those taxes within our borders.”

Fran Milby, who lives in New Kent, said she was “so happy it’s coming here. The county needs something like this.

She said her husband loves the beef jerky and all the different flavors in the sea bass. She also loves the barbecue at Buc-ee.

“We were saying last Christmas that it would be great to buy presents. A family lets their children choose what they want, as long as they can take it all away. It’s better than Wawa and Sheetz on steroids.

Dana Caudell of Mechanicsville visited Buc-ee on a trip through South Carolina and said it was “super clean and organized.”

“I said when we left the one in South Carolina that I really wish I had one near us in Virginia. So it was really exciting to see that statement about New Kent,” Caudell said.

The Buc-ee development team is currently working with VDOT and county planning staff to assess the transportation improvements required for the travel hub, according to the county’s economic development authority. A conditional use permit has been submitted to the county planning and zoning department.

A Buc-ee spokesperson said the company has new stores planned in Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee and Colorado and two in its home state of Texas.

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