CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – A record-holding convenience store chain with Texas roots is making its way to Clarksville.
Visit Clarksville, an arm of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council, said in a news release this week that residents can expect to see more dining, shopping, live music events, lodging options and features at new and existing attractions in 2023. The news release included that a Buc-ee’s Travel Center is slated to open at Exit 1, off Interstate 24 in northeast Clarksville.
Buc-ee’s is a chain of super-sized country stores and gas stations. Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982 by Arch “Beaver” Aplin, who later partnered with Don Wasek to expand the business. Now, the company has locations across the nation, with more on the way.
Buc-ee’s Travel Center in New Braunfels, Texas, currently holds the world record for not only the largest convenience store but also the largest car wash. The 66,335-square-foot store also features around 60 gas pumps and 1,000 parking spaces outside.
Clarksville Now reached out to the EDC for details about the development, but officials said they were unable to share confirmation. Clarksville Now has also reached out to Buc-ee’s corporate office.
Other new and happening projects for Clarksville in 2023 include:
- Shelby’s Trio, a 1950s burger joint, fine Italian dining and a rooftop bar with 360-degree views, all in a single downtown building, opens in February.
- Three Daughter’s Café inside the boutique of the same name in the booming Sango area is slated to open early in the year.
- A grant-funded 450-gallon aquarium in the Wade Bourne Nature Center at Rotary Park opens in April.
- Dunbar Cave State Park celebrates its 50th anniversary with special activities all summer.
- The Tennessee Wings of Liberty Museum will break ground in May. The three-year construction project will wrap up in 2025 on 33 landscaped acres. The museum will represent and honor the legacy of service and sacrifice of every American who served in the divisions that call Fort Campbell home.
- F&M Bank Arena opens mid-year, offering concerts, hockey and events for all ages. The arena will also serve as the new home court for Austin Peay State University men’s and women’s basketball in the fall.
- Doubletree Hotel and mixed-used development across from the arena will begin construction in late summer.
- Two parking garages will be open downtown by year-end, one beside the Doubletree project and one by the Roxy Regional Theatre.
- Greenway Trail System Bridge over the Red River opens by year end, connecting the Greenway to the Cumberland Riverwalk.
The new tourism-connected projects help put Clarksville in front of a wider audience, said Visit Clarksville Executive Director Theresa Harrington.
“We’ve never had that ‘one thing’ to market that set us apart,” Harrington said in the news release. “We always promoted little slices of several things. Now, that pie is growing bigger and bigger as we continue to develop more and different kinds of things to do and experience – which all bring more people from more places who have more opportunities to spend more money while they’re here.”
Clarksville tourism on rise
Visitor spending in Montgomery County during 2021 totaled $340.5 million, which was just shy of the community’s record-breaking pre-COVID travel revenue in 2019 — back to 97%, in fact, the release said.
“We feel great about what we’ve seen in 2022 from hotel and motel sales taxes,” Harrington said. “Actual spending data from the state won’t be reported until August or September, but community leaders and private businesses have invested in this community in significant ways over the past few years. We’re truly looking forward to the community reaping the benefits of that vision and leadership with more travel dollars being spent here.”
Staff at Clarksville’s Hilton Garden Inn said they are looking forward to all the development in 2023.
“We expect more events throughout the region because of new venues that will be available, including the downtown arena and the planned athletic complex by Exit 8,” Director of Sales Roy Feuring said in the release. “More events not only impact the region, but they will enhance opportunity for already established small and large local businesses and vendors like hotels and food trucks.”
Kyle Luther, market president at Traditions First Bank and Visit Clarksville’s board chairman, said he is especially excited about the new arena.
“I’m excited for the opening of the arena and to see how it will impact the growth and revitalization of downtown Clarksville,” he said in the release. “We’ve seen such positive growth and development in downtown during the construction phase that we’re really eager to see the outcomes for the next two to three years.”