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From its size, to its following, to its economic impact: Buc-ee’s in Colorado is a big deal

Colorado's first Buc-ee's location will open in Johnstown Monday at 6 a.m.
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Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 17, 2024

JOHNSTOWN, Colo. — The destination gas station and convenience store on steroids known as Buc-ee’s will open its doors and start up its pumps in Johnstown on Monday. The Texas-based chain will bring its massive layout, rows of gas pumps, and well-known barbecue and bathrooms (yes, bathrooms) to the Johnstown exit on Interstate 25.

But to answer why is Buc-ee’s such a big deal, a likely place to start is the fact that Buc-ee’s is literally a huge place. According to the company, the Johnstown location occupies 74,000 square feet. There are 116 fuel pumps on site. It could end up being the largest convenience store in the world.

That big business means big business for the town of Johnstown. Sarah Crosthwaite, the town’s economic development manager, said that impact is three-pronged.

“The community impact, it's a fiscal impact, and then it's also an employment impact. And all together that creates a really positive economic impact for our community,” Crosthwaite told Denver7.

Crosthwaite explained that the community impact side includes the fact that Buc-ee’s is a big brand that brings big attention, along with the possibility of having a ripple effect of attracting other businesses. On the fiscal side, this one store is expected to bring in 8,000 cars per day and add millions of dollars in sales tax revenue every year. As for employment, the single store has hired 150 people, a number which could grow closer to 200.

“It’s certainly in the millions, not only in the sales tax that they're going to generate, but in the new jobs that they're creating. Those folks have to live somewhere, they have to shop somewhere. And so all that creates a positive impact for us fiscally,” Crosthwaite added.

That is the local impact. But Buc-ee’s is a national brand, with locations in Texas, across the Southeast, and now Colorado. Denver7 spoke to the National Association of Convenience Stores to get that broader, national perspective.

“What Buc-ee’s has done is they've largely changed the model where you go in and out under three minutes, get on your way, get out, get back on the road. And they've made it a 30-minute-plus destination. You want to stop there, that is part of your route. It's not a side trip. It’s one of the stops,” Jeff Lenard of NASC told Denver7.

He went on to break down why Buc-ee’s business model works.

“Buc-ee’s has taken the traditional concept of a rest stop, and everything you don't like, stopping to get gas stopping use a bathroom, delaying your arrival, because you're getting food, and they've made all of those things a destination and something that you do want to go to. And you just kind of forget about schedule and just have a good time,” he added.

From its size, to its following, to its economic impact: Buc-ee’s in Colorado is a big deal

As for excitement from customers in Colorado, that is only growing. Look no further than the Buc-ee’s Johnstown Colorado 2024 Fan Page on Facebook.

“I was shocked when it hit a hundred [followers],” page founder Christine Wride said. “And then it hit a thousand and I was flabbergasted. It’s now at almost 24,000 people.”

So many followers, that Wride brought in her daughter Kylie to help manage the page.

“It made this whole anticipation better. It’s super fun to just share this with strangers, and hopefully we can meet a bunch of them on opening day,” Kylie Lucio added.

If 24,000 Facebook fans are any indication, the store will be packed on opening day Monday. That’s something to be aware of if your commute involves I-25 in Northern Colorado.

“You’re going to see some slower traffic there south of Loveland,” Denver7 traffic expert Jayson Luber said. “Getting off the highway could be more of a challenge.”

That challenge is followed by the unique traffic pattern at that exit. It’s called a diverging diamond interchange, where you drive on the opposite side of the overpass.

“It is a unique interchange if you’ve never done it before,” Luber said. “It is a little bit challenging, so just give it a little extra time, especially for the folks headed south and trying to get off the highway.”

So whether it is traffic or tax revenue, superfans or the superstore itself, Buc-ee’s is big. And it opens on Monday at 6 a.m.

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