The city of Melissa celebrated the grand opening of the much-anticipated Buc-ee’s gas station and convenience store on Monday.

“We’re excited to be here,” Buc-ee’s general counsel Jeff Nadalo said. “A lot of people have driven by and seen the construction. Now we’re ready to translate that into getting people to stop, whether they’ve been a customer before or not.”

Nadalo said Buc-ee’s chose to build in Melissa because of the community’s support, its proximity to U.S. Highway 75 and a local workforce largely capable of supplying the more than 200 employees expected to run the store. Construction of the business began in early 2018, but with the doors officially open, city officials have said the business is expected to attract 14,000-16,000 visitors each day.

“The city of Melissa’s population is just over about 12,000 people,” Mayor Reed Greer said. “So, when you’re expecting to have 30 percent more people than there are in the entire city, showing up every day at this one location, it does present challenges. But we’re prepared, we’re glad to have Buc-ee’s here, and we believe the economic benefit will far outweigh any issues that arise.”

Located at 1550 North U.S. Highway 75, the Melissa Buc-ee’s is the Texas-based chain’s northernmost location in the state. The 24-hour business offers customers more than 50,000 square feet of store space — filled with exotic beef jerkies, Beaver Nuggets, beverages, barbecue and award-winningly-clean bathrooms. Outside, drivers can fuel up at nearly 100 pumps and choose from a variety of fuels, including the standard array of graded gasolines, DEF and 92 octane.

Melissa resident Marissa Salazar stopped at Buc-ee’s on Monday morning to grab a few snacks for herself and some toys for her dogs. Salazar said she’s heard other residents’ concerns that the new business will lead to increased traffic and road congestion, but the vast majority seemed to be more excited for the new gas and food options.

“I know I’ll stop here fairly often and I’m sure a lot of other people will too,” Salazar said. “These places are pretty popular for a reason.”

Buc-ee’s bakery employee Joneice Blackmon had the day off Monday, but showed up for the grand opening anyway.

“I wanted to walk around and see people react to it all,” Blackmon said. “And even though I’ve been a customer at Buc-ee’s before, I’ve never been in a brand new one. The experience and the atmosphere is just exciting.”

Despite the already-sizable crowds of customers Monday, Blackmon said the Buc-ee’s staff were excited to get to work.

“We’re ready,” Blackmon said. “We’ll be here 24 hours and we’ll always be smiling.”

Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982 and operated 36 stores in Texas and Alabama, including the New Braunfels location, which is the largest convenience store in the world.