Buc-ee’s Bucking ‘Buck’s’ Out of Texas

Houston, TX

Buc-ee’s, the iconic Lone Star State chain of roadside rest stops known for its mega-convenience stores, endless rows of gas station pumps, squeaky clean bathrooms, signature “beaver” mascot, and fabulous food, filed a lawsuit to stop an out-of-state contender with the same sounding name from honing in on the Texas chain’s turf.

On Tuesday, Buc-ee’s Ltd. filed a lawsuit in Houston federal court alleging that Nebraska-based Bucks Inc., the parent company of Bucky’s convenience stores and gas stations, infringed upon the trademarked Buc-ee’s brand name. They may be spelled differently but Buc-ee’s and Bucky’s are pronounced exactly the same and now, the Omaha chain is currently working on expanding into Texas.

The legal action argues that “Bucky’s” is too similar to “Buc-ee’s” and this will cause customer confusion, according to the Houston Business Journal. Buc-ee’s Ltd. requested that Buck’s Inc. immediately stop using the name Bucky’s in Texas. The lawsuit also named Dallas-based BSD Bright Site Development LLC and Houston-based Tildon Sun Development LLC, the developers who have teamed up with Buck’s Inc. on at least six upcoming Bucky’s convenience stores, including in Houston and Nassau Bay.

Reportedly, representatives from Bucks Inc. and the Texas development companies were unavailable for comment, but Buc-ee’s co-founder Arch “Beaver” Aplin III issued a statement: “We must take action to ensure that our brand integrity remains intact and that our customers’ interaction with Buc-ee’s is what they have come to know and expect.”

Buc-ee’s, which boasts 37 locations throughout Texas, was founded in 1982 by Aplin and his business partner Don Wasek. The company is headquartered in Lake Jackson, Texas. New Buc-ee’s are coming to Katy, outside of Houston, to Denton County, and to the northern end of Collin County in Melissa.

In September, Bon Appetit magazine named Buc-ee’s the “best rest stop in America,” commending the Texas institution for “having set a new bar for the kind of service and offerings that an off-the-highway joint can provide.”

In 2012, Cintas’ Corporation crowned the New Braunfels Buc-ee’s the “Cleanest Restroom in America” following a nationwide contest. Voters said Buc-ee’s had a bathroom as big as Texas and its 83 toilets were some of the most spotless in the state. At the time, the 68,000 square foot convenience store rated as the world’s largest with 60 fuel pumps and 1,000 parking spaces, all on 19 acres.

On Facebook, Buck’s says it operates 25 convenience stores and gas stations in the Omaha metro area, seven in greater St. Louis, and 50 in suburban Chicago, all under the Bucky’s brand name.

It seems this is not the first time these two chains tangled in a legal dispute. Both filed for trademarks 11 years ago within months of each other to protect their budding businesses. The Houston Chronicle reported that Buc-ee’s and Bucky’s reached a truce in which the Nebraska business agreed the Texas company could use “Buc-ee’s” because the names, logos, and geographic areas of each operator was different enough that consumers were not likely to be confused, according to a 2009 consent agreement. However, Bucky’s allegedly broke the arrangement with its Texas expansion plans.

Buc-ee’s also has gone to court to protect its beaver branded logo. In 2014, the company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Concan, Texas-based Frio Beaver, a pizzeria and general store, over its similar-looking cartoon beaver mascot. Frio Beaver agreed to change their logo and the case was dismissed. They later changed the company’s name to Frio River Grocery.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.