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June 26, 2023 | Shannon Smith

New Buc-ee’s brings hundreds of well-paying jobs to Sevier County

This is the Texas-based convenience store and gas station's second Tennessee location, after opening a store in Crossville around this time last year.

The largest Buc-ee’s store in the country is now open in Sevierville, Tennessee.

This is the Texas-based convenience store and gas station’s second Tennessee location, after opening a store in Crossville around this time last year.

“We gave Texas Davy Crockett and Same Houston, and look what we got in return, the largest Buc-ee’s in the whole country,” said Rep. Diana Harshbarger, U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s 1st District.

Opening day was filled with thousands of people, thousands more things branded with the Buc-ee’s beaver logo, and a healthy amount of Texas smack talk by many of the ten people who spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony Monday morning.”

“We also need to realize things might be bigger in Texas but they are better in Tennessee. Today is proof of that,” said U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Since opening early Monday morning, Buc-ee’s workers described the crowds as “steady,” as visitors continuously circled the parking lot looking for a rare open parking spot or gas station pump. And once inside, shoppers from all over the country were ready to meet the Beaver.

“I highly suspect this very well will be the busiest store that we’ve ever built, which is why we designed a new prototype,” said Buc-ee’s Co-Founder Arch “Beaver” Aplin. “It’s about 45 percent bigger than a normal store that we build and we thought this was the location to build it. The one thing that didn’t occur to me was how many of my Texas friends I would make mad about doing so. So just as a personal note, I had to fix that. So we have designed and are building a store slightly larger store in Luling, Texas, but this entire design was created by how fabulous this community is.”

Nickie and Hadley from Harrogate, TN, extended their trip to the area for an extra day just to be at Buc-ee’s on opening day. Bobbi from Pennsylvania drove all the way down to Sevierville just to be at Buc-ee’s for all the festivities. It’s that kind of cult following, and frequent visitors to Sevier County, that makes local leaders echo Aplin’s guess that this store will always be busy.

Buc-ee’s is the first business to open at The 407, a massive new entertainment development from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI), under construction now. The EBCI was thanked many times, as this project wouldn’t have been possible without their investment in that land.

“We are happy to be working with such a great group of people and I look forward to doing a lot more work here developing this project,” said EBCI Chairman Richard French. “I’d say this is a great day for the Eastern Band, but it’s also a great day for the state of Tennessee. We look forward to a lot more ribbon cuttings to come.”

Aplin said the store hired more than 400 full-time employees to work at Buc-ee’s, where jobs start at a minimum wage of $17 per hour. Working full-time at the lowest rate would mean an employee’s annual pay is about $10,000 higher than Sevier County’s average individual income. Certain service and store managers easily make six-figure salaries.

Governor Bill Lee, U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty, State Tourism Commissioner Mark Ezell, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters, Sevierville Mayor Robbie Fox, and Sevierville Chamber of Commerce CEO Brenda McCroskey also spoke to a large crowd Monday morning about the area’s excitement for Buc-ee’s arrival.

Buc-ee’s is open 24/7 right off Exit 407 of I-40 in Sevier County.

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