'Volusia and Daytona have a really bright future,' said Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Monday morning dawned cloudy and rainy for the groundbreaking ceremony for the first-ever Buc-ee’s travel center in Florida, but spirits ran high as local and state officials, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were on hand to celebrate.
The new chain will be located on the northeast corner of LPGA and I-95 in Daytona, across from the Tanger Outlets. It will have 120 gas pumps and the convenience store will be 50,000 square feet, making it the largest store outside of Texas.
The mega gas station chain is the brainchild of Arch “Beaver” Aplin, a Texas businessman, and his partner Don Wasek, who started from the ground up to provide customers with cheap ice and clean bathrooms. Since the original business, Buc-ee’s has grown to mega stores throughout Texas and is now expanding across the country. They are known for their food, clean bathrooms and specialty gifts.
“When you go in there, you’re going to be able to get whatever it is that you need in one stop,” DeSantis said. “What you are going to see is when people are going north on I-95, once word gets out about this, they’re gonna plan to stop right here at this place in Daytona Beach. That’s obviously going to drive more revenue here to the local community.”
DeSantis thanked Aplin for planning to further expand in Florida with future stores to open in Ft. Myers and St. Augustine.
Buc-ee’s will support at least 200 jobs in the area, pay $15 per hour, with full healthcare benefits and three weeks of paid vacation. DeSantis said that will make a big difference for folks in Volusia County who are looking for work.
“The fact that they are breaking ground here is a testament that Volusia has a really bright future, and Daytona has a really bright future,” he said.
Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry shared his appreciation for Governor DeSantis’ support of the Daytona area. Henry said Buc-ee’s gets 100,000 visitors a day. He talked about driving to the groundbreaking site with his son.
“One of the exciting things is, I get to explain to him what’s taking place in our city,” Henry said. “Hopefully it will be a place where he will be able to live and raise a family with excitement.”
Henry was also hopeful Buc-ee's would increase Daytona Beach tourism.
“We want those visitors who are visiting Buc-ee’s world class facility to see the rest of Daytona Beach as a stopping place, a resting place and a place to visit,” Henry said.
During Bike Week, could Buc-ee's see 120 pumps filled with motorcycles? That, DeSantis said, will be the question.