Slide Show: Buc-ee’s Earns Restroom Recognition

Texas convenience store captures crown in 11th annual Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom Contest

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- America voted and agrees that the New Braunfels, Texas, Buc-ee’s has a bathroom as big as Texas and some of the most spotless loos in the Lone Star State, making this pit stop perfect for any road warrior and fit for a king. With 83 toilets to choose from, guests even get their very own throne.

“Buc-ee’s brand of convenience stores knows firsthand that clean bathrooms mean big business,” Cintas’ Market Development Representative Gary Gonzaba told onlookers as he presented Buc-ee’s co-owner, Arch "Beaver" Aplin, with the top honor during a media event at the New Braunfels Buc-ee’s.

Buc-ee’s was a fan favorite in Cintas’ annual contest beating out the other top nine contenders to take the crown in this year’s America’s Best Restroom Contest. America voted Arizona’s Liberty Market restaurant, a former grocery store, the No. 2 place to go No. 1. [See photos of the No. 1 and No. 2 winners below.] Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago took third, and California’s Hollywood Bowl followed close in fourth-place.

The 68,000-square-foot service stop that is Buc-ee’s plays host to thousands of vehicles a day with passengers filling up on fuel, grabbing food and using the facilities.

“We invite everyone to stop in to try out our award-winning restrooms,” said Aplin. “Maybe Buc-ee’s will be our city’s new claim to fame, the ‘Taj Ma-Stall’ of Texas … a tourist attraction in and of itself.”

“Buc-ee’s has been a welcome addition to our community by creating new jobs and generating hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for our city,” said Rusty Brockman, director of economic development at the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and one of dozens of city officials who attended Monday’s award ceremony.

“At the core, this contest is intended to recognize public restroom facilities that ‘serve’ local citizens, and Buc-ee’s is the essence of hospitality when you consider it’s an easily accessible, family-friendly, well-maintained, convenient and free facility,” said Cintas’ senior marketing manager John Engel.

Customers who have made a beeline for the bathroom at Buc-ee’s say this Texas-based business flushes the competition when it comes to clean. “You gotta see it to believe it,” said one Canyon Lake, Texas, resident and Chamber of Commerce member who nominated Buc-ee’s for this year’s contest.

“Not only do they have a great atmosphere, the restroom facilities are amazing. … They are spacious, uber clean and there are plenty for everyone. … I have even changed clothes there without worrying about yuckiness,” said Kelly R., a Houston resident who also submitted Buc-ee’s for consideration this year.

In second place, Liberty Market, Gilbert, Ariz., is an antiquated grocery store that has been transformed into an urban bistro that blends retro with recent to create a washroom space that sports a chic, polished style.

Each of the five unisex stalls at Liberty Market--restaurateur Joe Johnston's (of Joe’s Farm Grill) latest brainchild--reflects a personally inspired design complimented by a coordinating playlist to set the mood in each stall.

The 2012 contest attracted nominations from a wide range of businesses, including restaurants, hotels, concert venues, football stadiums, night clubs and museums. Ten finalists were selected based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements.

Thousands of votes were cast online through October, which produced the following results:

First Place: Buc-ee’s, New Braunfels, Texas

Second Place: Liberty Market, Gilbert, Ariz.

Third Place: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago

Fourth Place: Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, Calif.

Fifth Place: Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Buc-ee’s and Liberty Market will receive the coveted America’s Best Restroom winner and runner-up plaque of recognition from Cintas and secure their place in the America’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame.

Based in Cincinnati, Cintas Corp. designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for more than 900,000 businesses.