Buc-ee’s devotees flood the Johnstown store on opening day

By | March 18, 2024

JOHNSTOWN — Hundreds of people lined up well before dawn Monday for the 6 a.m. opening of Colorado’s first Buc-ee’s — the Texas travel hub that has developed a cult-like following.

A group of teens from Thornton camped out Sunday night. A mother and son drove up from Highlands Ranch. Theresa Gooras of Johnstown and her adult children arrived at 1:30 a.m., dressed in Buc-ee’s onesies and wrapped in Buc-ee’s blankets. Underneath were the Buc-ee T-shirts. Gooras, originally from Texas, was giddy that her favorite store is now just 5 minutes away.

“When I go home (to Texas), I spend a lot of money at Buc-ee’s,” she said. “They have the greatest gifts: barbecue and kolaches,” she said.

Her second floor is decorated with Buc-ee memorabilia, including pillows and blankets, and she admits she may be obsessed with Buc-ee’s.

Now that there’s a store close by, “I’m sure we’ll be here often. My wallet will hate me.”

Ninety minutes before opening, dozens of workers straightened the shelves, dusted the floor, made sandwiches, wrapped burritos, restocked freshly made food shelves, and shouted and shouted “freeesssshhh brisket on the table” as a new piece of meat was ready to be served. to cut. .

The 7,000-square-foot store at 5201 Nugget Road, at the southwest corner of Interstate 25 and Weld County Road 48, has 116 gas stations and 12 electric vehicle charging stations, as well as thousands of snacks, meals and drinks; homemade fudge; a full bakery; grilled brisket, turkey and pulled pork; clothes; outdoor equipment; household goods; toys; books; wine; and among his claims to fame, ‘the’ cleanest bathrooms in the world, the freshest food and the friendliest beaver.

Buc-ee the Beaver, the store’s official mascot, was on hand to welcome the crowd when the doors opened at 6 a.m.

Buc-ee the Beaver waits for people to come in before the grand opening of Buc-ee's in Johnstown on Monday.Buc-ee the Beaver waits for people to come in before the grand opening of Buc-ee's in Johnstown on Monday.

Buc-ee the Beaver waits for people to come in before the grand opening of Buc-ee’s in Johnstown on Monday.

Rob Rosen of Erie got off work in Blackhawk at 2:30 a.m. and drove straight to Johnstown to get in line.

“If you haven’t been to a Buc-ee’s yet, you need to experience it,” he said. Calling it the “Walmart of gas stations,” Rosen said the travel center will be a great addition to the community. “It brings business from all over.”

The store received city approval in early 2022 for several land use changes on 140 acres. Johnstown Mayor Troy Mellon said Buc-ee’s opening “opens the ranks as Scheels opens” and will generate “significant” sales tax revenue for the city. “The money goes straight back into the community to fund needed projects,” he said.

Johnstown has high property taxes, Mellon said, and he hopes that sales tax revenue from Buc-ee’s, along with Scheels, will one day generate enough revenue for the city to lower property taxes. The city offered a share of the sales tax for 20 years as an incentive to entice Buc-ee’s to come to Johnstown. These shares were dependent on Buc-ee’s installation of electric vehicle charging stations and off-site improvements such as the roundabout.

The city rebates 1.5% of the sales tax generated at Buc-ee’s back to the store and keeps 1.5%. The remaining 0.5% of the sales tax revenue generated is intended for roads and other infrastructure. Buc-ee’s also created about 275 jobs, most of them full-time, said Josh Smith, Buc-ee’s director of operations.

Nacomah MacDory and a group of high school friends “thought it would be funny to camp at Buc-ee’s over spring break. We thought we’d be the only ones.”

They were the first in line, but hardly the only ones. Gabriel Castillo of Commerce City told his mother they should be first in line. She couldn’t make it, but Castillo waited in line at the roundabout until the parking lot opened at 3:45 a.m. He quickly joined MacDory’s group.

Miya Saraduke of Johnstown might have been the first to pull into the parking lot Sunday at 7 p.m. “I came in so early they let me in (in the parking lot). But then I fell asleep in my car.”

She was looking for the Buc-ee Easter Bunny, which she said was sold out elsewhere, but was in ample supply on Monday. “I have a whole list” of other items to buy, she said. “They have so much stuff. You can do your Christmas shopping here, the food is delicious. This is so exciting, it gives me butterflies in my stomach.”

Eleven-year-old Andrew Flack convinced mom Stacy to drive up from Highlands Ranch to get a kolache. The family moved from Texas to Colorado last year. They couldn’t miss “a piece of Texas coming to Colorado,” Stacy said.

The family lived a mile from Buc-ee’s in Texas. When asked how often they went there, Andrew said “every day.” He misses a small portion of the school day, but Stacy said they might make up for it by bringing snacks for his class.

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Buc-ee’s opens in Johnstown: Hundreds gather at Colorado store

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