In April 2022, the world’s tiniest Buc-ee’s first appeared in West Texas along a Sanderson-bound strip of U.S. 90. Parodying earlier artworks themselves satirizing American consumption, including the desert Target outside Marathon and the Prada installation near Marfa, the miniature Buc-ee’s was the subject of much intrigue and social media speculation when it popped up seemingly overnight at the hand of an anonymous artist.
Though immediately beloved, the iconic signage disappeared almost as quickly as it was installed. Within days of its initial appearance, the Buc-ee’s logo vanished from the private structure, with the original artist speculating that “the shift to e-commerce and higher gas prices probably forced it to close.”
Now, a little over a year later, the tiny Buc-ee’s has returned. Last week the installation reappeared in the West Texas expanse, and on Instagram feeds, as announced by the account @visitsandersontexas. “It’s good to have you home,” wrote Keirstin Pratt, the Sanderson local behind the account.
The current iteration of the installation appears nearly identical to the first, though this time around, it’s joined by a faux Texas state historical marker commemorating the earlier piece. It designates the structure as the “World’s Smallest Bucee’s [sic]” and reads:
“Originally established April 1st 2022, This [sic] Bucee’s location served the area faithly [sic] despite its lack of operating hours, bathrooms [sic] employees or a home decor section. It was an important content stop for weary Instagram Influencers and other travelers on the famous Marfa Trail. A shift to e-commerce, rising gas prices, and a worldwide Beaver Nugget shortage forced the location to close on April 4th, 2022. In 2023, a replica of the original Tiny Bucees was built on this site. To this day it continues to draw crowds and litigation.”
A QR code at the bottom of the sign claims to lead to a page soliciting donations in support of the artist’s legal defense fund. When scanned, the code directs visitors to a Venmo account operated by “Anonymous Artist.” When reached on Monday by email, Buc-ee’s legal representative Jeff Nadalo said, “We are dispatching a cleaning team immediately to the nugget-sized stop.” On Tuesday morning, Texas Monthly received photos clarifying Nadalo’s statement: a one-man crew stood in front of the tiny Buc-ee’s, presumably ready to scrub the chain’s notoriously clean restrooms.
As the Venmo name indicates, the installation artist once again wishes to remain anonymous. This time, however, he did work with and has the support of community members and local business owners, who perhaps envision the benefit of an “important content stop” nearby.
Certainly Pratt, the Instagram administrator and West Texas booster, is hopeful the artwork will inspire “Instagram Influencers” and general Texas sightseers to reroute their trips to take in the beauty of Sanderson.
“I’m definitely a promoter of any reason for people who are traveling to Alpine or Marfa to take U.S. 90, to take the scenic route.”
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