Buc-ee’s: The Path to World Domination

Beaver Aplin built the quirky convenience chain into a Texas empire. Will his tactics translate outside the state?

From the Texas Monthly: About a century ago, in central Louisiana, in the town of Harrisonburg, the seat of Catahoula Parish, Arch and Mae Aplin opened a general mercantile store. The Aplins sold everything—dried goods and leather shoes, medicine and cotton shirts, cuts of beef and hammers and nails—and their store was successful, in large part because of its location.

Harrisonburg sits on the western bank of the Ouachita River, and back then the town was a hub for travelers. If you were heading east to Mississippi or west into the Louisiana Hill Country, you had to traverse the Ouachita, and the ferry that docked at the bottom of Main Street in Harrisonburg was one of the only ways to do that. The Aplins’ store stood on Main Street, just inland from the ferry. No one crossing the river in either direction could miss it.

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ROUTE 66 STATUE! There’s a gopher on top of the new restaurant called Topo in Gilbert

From ABC 15: PHOENIX — There’s a gopher in Gilbert!

The city woke up to a big surprise on Wednesday, when a 7-foot, two-ton, larger-than-life statue debuted over the main street in the heart of downtown Gilbert. Welcome to Topo !

Joe Johnston, the owner of Joe’s Real BBQ, decided to create a fun, fast-casual restaurant right next door to his well-known BBQ joint.

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Copley buying and demolishing former Charlie’s Ribs & Chicken

From the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com: COPLEY — Say goodbye to the giant hamburger-eating bunny.

The iconic bunny sign that has stood along Copley Road for decades is coming down as part of the township’s plans to demolish the vacant Charlie’s Ribs & Chicken and turn the blighted property into greenspace.

“It’s all part of neighborhood beautification, cleaning up blight and trying to improve property values,” said Matt Springer, township director of community and economic development.

The township is buying the land and buildings from Jeannie Kalos, whose late husband Charlie’s family founded the restaurant in 1961 as the Bunny Drive-In. It later became Charlie’s Ribs.

The restaurant closed shortly after Charlie Kalos died in February 2016 of complications from diabetes. The building has sat vacant ever since.

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Closing credits: the battle to save 1930s Odeon cinemas – photo essay

Photo: Philip Butler

From The Guardian: Oscar Deutsch’s cinemas were the most exotic architecture in many British towns and cities. But the wrecking ball has claimed many – and is still swinging.

The two films shown on the opening night of Odeon founder Oscar Deutsch’s first cinema in October 1928 may have been silent – but it certainly got residents of the small town of Brierley Hill in present-day West Midlands talking.

Designed in Assyrian style by a local architect, Stanley Griffiths, the single-storey street frontage of the Picture House featured a pediment of sorts with a sawtooth motif borrowed from ancient Egypt – an architectural style popular in Britain following the 1922 discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

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How the west was won – by a restaurant chain

The Harvey Girls – wait staff at a Harvey House restaurant. FRED HARVEY COMPANY

From Sunday Morning: Last fall, a cheer went up as a grand hotel from a bygone era got a little closer to opening its doors. For Allan Affeldt, restoring La Castañeda, in Las Vegas, New Mexico, is a labor of love. “When the hotel was built in 1898, there were a dozen transcontinental passenger trains stopping here every day,” Affeldt said.

The Castañeda’s main dining room was one of the biggest and fanciest in New Mexico – and is today one of the last vestiges of a vast network of hotels and restaurants that once stretched across the southwest, all built by the Fred Harvey Company.

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