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Buc-ee’s travel center brings Texas-sized joy to Johnstown

Collegian | Hannah Parcells
A collection of Buc-ee the Beaver stuffed animals in a display inside the brand-new Buc-ee’s in Johnstown, Colorado, March 18.

Everything is bigger in Texas — and Colorado, too, now that a new Buc-ee’s calls Johnstown home.

A subset of the popular gas station and quick service location opened its doors to the Northern Colorado community March 18 after four years of planning and two years of construction.


“(Stores like Buc-ee’s) bring so much to the community in terms of jobs, economic development and understanding what some of the best is here, as you can tell from the turnout,” said Deanna Sloat, business programs and events director for the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a huge draw, and that brings not only businesses but all kinds of other stuff to come to the community as well.”

Buc-ee’s, which has drawn a cultlike following with locations in Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee, features a full-service barbecue counter, fresh pastries, branded merchandise, location-specific clothing, exclusive food products and 116 gas pumps.

The opening, which drew a crowd lining up as early as the previous night, featured a ribbon cutting, free T-shirts for the first 600 guests and the opportunity for Coloradans to get a glimpse into the superstore.

“My sister works here, so I’m super excited for her,” Sloat said. “She’s been working toward this day to get open, so that’s exciting. I’m blown away by the number of people — I shouldn’t be, but I am. Of course, I need a brisket sandwich. This is a big deal for a Colorado person.”

The location, which is 74,000 square feet in area, is among the largest Buc-ee’s locations in the country, rivaling the largest, 74,707-square-foot Buc-ee’s in Sevierville, Tennessee.

“When we opened the doors at 6 a.m., I get the privilege of being the one that gets to do that,” Director of Operations Josh Smith said. “It’s always exciting to be able to do that: as the community kind of settles into having us, just always to provide that place for safe traveling and to be a great asset to the local community and help out the local economy.”

Smith and other members of Buc-ee’s management attended the opening day as residents of Johnstown, Northern Colorado and beyond filled the store. Some guests were dressed in Buc-ee’s merchandise, including onesies and full beaver costumes.

The ribbon cutting was attended by representatives of the state government and members of the Loveland and Johnstown city governments, including the mayor of Johnstown and members of the Loveland City Council, who spoke to the public about the economic growth projected for Johnstown and the surrounding areas as a result of the new location.

“I am just so excited to see Johnstown grow the way it is,” said Dixie Daly, Loveland Chamber of Commerce business and membership director. “My son and my daughter and I live here with their kids, and to watch this is just amazing. And we’re so grateful and so honored to have them here.”


Buc-ee’s in Johnstown will be open 24 hours every day of the year. It is expected to generate $25 million in sales for the local economy annually.

“The best moment was really when I walked in the store because I’ve never been to a Buc-ee’s, and wow, it was just amazing,” Daly said. “I took pictures of my favorite things. And the one thing they have is this cool pink bling hat that I have got to get.”

For Smith and the Buc-ee’s management, the Johnstown location is just the beginning.

“We’ve been excited to be here in Colorado — it’s been three years in the making,” Smith said. “When we opened the doors this morning at 6 a.m., it was an exciting time because we get to finally showcase what we’re about and who we are and start to have that local impact in the local economy and everybody around.”

Reach Allie Seibel and Caden Proulx at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian

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About the Contributors
Allie Seibel
Allie Seibel, Editor in Chief
Allie Seibel is the editor in chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, a role she loves more and more with each day. Previously the news editor and news director of The Collegian, Seibel has a background in news, but she’s excited to branch out and experience every facet of content this and following years. Seibel is a sophomore journalism and media communications major minoring in business administration and legal studies. She is a student in the Honors Program and is also an honors ambassador and honors peer mentor. She also is a satellite imagery writer for the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University. Seibel is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and loves how The Collegian has gotten her acquainted with Fort Collins and CSU. When she’s not writing, reporting or in class, you can always find her with a book, cross-stitching, planning where to travel to next, trying out a new recipe or listening to Taylor Swift. Seibel is incredibly proud of The Collegian’s past and understands the task of safeguarding its future. She’s committed to The Collegian’s brand as an alt-weekly newspaper and will continue to advance its status as a strong online publication while preserving the integrity and tradition of the print paper. Seibel is excited to begin a multi-year relationship with readers at the helm of the paper and cannot wait to see how the paper continues to grow. Through initiatives like the new science desk and letting each individual desk shine, Seibel is committed to furthering The Collegian and Rocky Mountain Student Media over the next few years.
Caden Proulx
Caden Proulx, Print Director
Caden Proulx is a human development and family studies student at Colorado State University pursuing his passion for graphic design at The Collegian. Originally from Austin, Texas, Caden's journalistic journey began in the high school yearbook department, where his passion for design grew. This led to him to seek out student media when he got to Colorado State University. Starting as a page designer in his first year, Caden found a home at The Collegian. This led him to the position of print director his sophomore year. Despite majoring in HDFS, Caden seamlessly integrates his hobby of graphic design with his academic pursuits. The Collegian has become an integral part of his success at CSU. Now firmly rooted in Colorado, Caden is eager to contribute to the student media landscape, The Collegian and its success. He loves working alongside other excited students who are talented and have a lot to teach and push him to continue to grow as a visual journalist.
Hannah Parcells
Hannah Parcells, News Editor
Hannah Parcells is currently the news editor at The Collegian, a role that she loves dearly. Parcells uses she/her pronouns and began writing for The Collegian in fall 2023 as a reporter under the news, science, opinion and life and culture desks.  Parcells is currently pursuing two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a concentration in global politics. Parcells has always been passionate about understanding and helping other people and hopes to use her education to try and leave the world a little better than she found it.  Raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Parcells grew up with a love of learning, music and writing. She’s always working to learn more about the world through history and art and loves being introduced to new places, people and ideas.  On the off chance that she’s not buried in textbooks, research papers and policy analyses, Hannah can be found on a hike, watching movies or at any local bookstore or coffee shop, feeding her ongoing addictions to both caffeine and good books. Parcells is incredibly proud of the work she’s done at The Collegian so far and is excited to continue that work as an editor of the news desk.

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