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Buc-ee is planning its first location in Virginia

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

The New Kent County Economic Development Authority has announced plans for a 74,000-square-foot store with 120 fuel spaces, 557 parking spaces, 24 Tesla charging spaces and 10 bus/RV parking spaces off Interstate 64 at Exit 211.

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


This Buc-ee’s travel center opened in Richmond, Ky., on April 19. The facility includes a 53,000 square meter building and 120 petrol pumps.

Ryan C. Hermens

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

“Buc-ee’s is open 24/7 and provides our guests with the cleanest restrooms and friendliest staff anywhere; much less on I-64,” the company said in a statement. “Buc-ee’s is not a truck stop; 18-wheelers are not allowed on the property. Buc-ee’s is a unique destination.”

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

Matthew J. Smolnik, assistant county administrator for New Kent, said the location benefits from being close to Colonial Downs Racetrack. The site is on the busy route between Richmond, Williamsburg and Newport News.

“We’re unique because we have Virginia’s only thoroughbred racetrack and now we’re going to have Virginia’s first Buc-ee,” he said. “We are very pleased that this is a catalyst for more economic activity.”

The site is at 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 is advancing a long-awaited road expansion for the 29-mile stretch of I-64 around exit 211. A third lane added in each direction is intended to improve traffic flow for the notoriously congested area.

“Obviously [Buc-ee’s] is going to target transient individuals, but it will also help with local shopping, Smolnik said. “A lot of us get in the car and drive off-site to spend our money elsewhere, so this could be a game-changer to keep that tax money within our borders.”

Fran Milby, who lives in New Kent, said she is “so glad this is coming here. The county needs something like this.”

She said her husband loves beef jerky and all the different flavors at the beef jerky bar. She also loves barbecuing at Buc-ee’s.

“We said last Christmas it would be great to shop for presents. A family allows the children to choose what they want, provided they can carry it all. It’s better than Wawa and Sheetz on steroids.”

Dana Caudell, of Mechanicsville, has visited Buc-ee’s while traveling through South Carolina and said it was “super clean and organized.”

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

Buc-ee’s development team is currently working with VDOT and county planning staff to evaluate transportation improvements required for the travel center, according to the county Economic Development Authority. A conditional use permit has been sent to the county council’s planning and regulation 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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