'Beaver' Aplin talks Buc-ee's

Becky Holland, Managing Editor
Posted 12/30/13

Beaver Aplin, CEO of the Buc-ee’s convenience store chain, has a real name. It is Arch Aplin. His dad, Aplin told the Meteor last week, was called Arch, and “my mom started calling me Beaver, so …

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'Beaver' Aplin talks Buc-ee's

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Beaver Aplin, CEO of the Buc-ee’s convenience store chain, has a real name. It is Arch Aplin. His dad, Aplin told the Meteor last week, was called Arch, and “my mom started calling me Beaver, so the name just stuck.” Aplin got the name for his business by combing his nickname, his Labrador Retriever’s name and the name of ‘Bucky Beaver,’ the mascot created for Ipana toothpaste commercials by Disney. His smile is sincere and his passion for his business is obvious in his speech and tone. Aplin was at the Madisonville City Council’s called meeting last week, which was to discuss the dissolving of the current tax abatement agreement with Buc-ee’s and putting together a new one, which would extend the years on the abatement, and would help Buc-ee’s in Madisonville expand. Upon graduating from Texas A&M, Beaver Aplin had one thing in mind – he wanted to open a convenience store different than others, and focus on super-clean bathrooms and cheap ice. The first store was opened in Lake Jackson in 1982, and the Buc-ee’s store was so successful that Aplin and his partner expanded and have around 27 stores. One of the flagship stores is located in Madisonville at the intersection of I-45 and SH-21. Aplin told the Meteor after the meeting last Monday, “I just got in my truck one day and started riding around … and I was looking for a location central to both Houston and Dallas, and Madisonville seemed to be it.” He said, “I liked the locale because of SH-21, and the warm welcome we received was a plus.” The store was completed and opened in 2010. And the popularity of the store has just risen even beyond Aplin’s expectations. Recent increase in traffic flow has concerned Aplin that “the experience in the store just isn’t enjoyable for our customers.” He paused, “We want to be able to adequately serve our customers locally and those who are traveling through.” So, a plan has been set forth to enlarge the store on the inside and out. “We will be increasing areas inside the store, including our bathrooms and parts of the retail area, enlarging the parking area and adding 32 more gas pumps.” The cost will be more than what was actually spent for original construction of the facility in 2010.

During the reconstruction and remodeling stages, Aplin said, “The store will remain open 24 hours, seven days a week and I have been told that it is possible that the whole thing will take about four or five months – six at the max – to complete.” He said that customers may have to make a few adjustments when stopping and shopping at the store, but “what we will be doing will be with them in mind, and making sure the transition is smooth as it goes along.” Aplin continued, “I am excited to be here and be able to do this … I am ready to go ahead and get it started.” Remodeling, he said, with a smile, “will start day after tomorrow.”

The Meteor will continue to follow this story as progress is made on the remodel of Buc-ee’s. The Texas Department of Transportation will be taking away the current exit ramp to help with the progress and traffic. The Meteor is working on a story on the new work on the roads as well, and will give details when available.

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