SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – It has been a while since there has been such a stir about a convenience store coming to the Ozarks. The announcement that Texas-based Buc-ee’s wants to build off Mulroy Road near the interchange of I-44 and Route 744 on the city’s east side, is exciting for many travelers and city leaders alike.
Sarah Kerner, Economic Development Director) for the City of Springfield, stated, “Buc-ee’s definitely had a cult following, so I think we might have people coming to Springfield for that reason, and hopefully stick around to see some of the wonderful things we have to offer.”
So, what is a Buc-ee’s? The company calls itself a convenience store operation, but the size of its facilities is more on par with supermarkets. The centers are built specifically for those traveling by automobile. They aren’t truck stops. In fact, 18-wheelers aren’t allowed.
Plans reveal the Springfield facility will have one hundred gas pumps, gift shops, plenty of food options.
The chain has about 40 stores, mostly in Texas. Missouri is a long way from the Lone Star State. So how did Springfield end up on the radar? City leaders tell us the company wants to grow, and I-44 has the traffic counts it was looking for.
Kerner said, “They are really looking at major travel corridors and I think sometimes for people who live in Springfield kind of forget, we are a pretty major travel destination and on the way to a major travel destination.”
Local leaders hope this spurs even more growth. It’s something folks in the town of Leeds, Alabama have seen after landing their Buc-ee’s last year.
David Miller, mayor of Leeds, stated during the grand opening, “In addition to itself, we have got hotels and restaurants knocking on the door wanting to get close by.”
Springfield officials say the addition of Buck-ee’s is just the latest in a string of other retailers that have chosen to build in the Ozarks in recent months, including Costco and Amazon.
Kerner said having a resilient economy is another attractive quality about the community.
She stated, “I would definitely say the momentum continues. It has been weird through the pandemic really how much activity has continued. So, we are excited to see it continue.”
On January 24th, the Springfield City Council will vote on an agreement to provide a reimbursement of up to $4-million to Buc-ee’s, which has stated it will spend $8-million dollars on infrastructure improvements to the site. The company said, if the package is approved, construction would begin later this year and take 12 to 15 months to complete.