Buc-ee's

New Braunfels’ Buc-ee’s travel center not only has 60 fueling stations; it has the nation’s cleanest restrooms to serve the thousands of travelers who go by the center daily on I-35.

NEW BRAUNFELS — Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels has the nicest johns around.

No, really. It’s been proven.

Buc-ee’s, 2760 I-35 North, won designation as the 2012 America’s Best Restroom Contest presented by Cintas. Representatives of Cintas and Buc-ee’s co-owner Beaver Aplin gathered with members and leaders of the New Braunfels community to announce the business’ winning of Cintas’ 11th annual award.

“Whoever heard of a best restroom award? It’s kind of funny,” Aplin said after receiving a plaque commemorating the honor.

He said each of the 27 Buc-ee’s travel centers strives to provide top-notch customer service, without which business likely would go down the drain.

“It’s an unusual award,” Aplin said. “But to me it speaks volumes about the quality of service we try to provide our customers.

The New Braunfels flagship store boasts more than 80 stalls, plenty for the hundreds of patrons who frequent the location. And each of those stalls is so nice that Buc-ee’s was able to flush the competition from nine other finalists.

Nominations came in for five-star resorts, swanky restaurants and at least one world-famous concert venue, said Sabrina Zimring, who served as survey editor for Cintas and monitored the voting process. Zimring said she eliminated duplicate votes so no one would be able to flush the ballot box with several votes.

As criteria for winning, restroom nominees needed to be clean, user friendly and accessible, Zimring said.

“We looked for public restroom facilities that serve the customers,” she said. “That’s what this one does.”

Voters chose Liberty Market, Gilbert, Ariz., as the No. 2 place to go No. 1, Zimring said. Liberty Market, once an outdated grocery store, has been updated to an urban bistro offering five unisex restrooms with a chic, polished style.

Third on the list was the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, which possesses giant reflective glass mosaic tiles lining the room from floor to ceiling.

Washing up at a close fourth place was The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles County’s 18,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, with its 14 restrooms recently renovated to evoke the 1920s.

And rounding out the list of the top five tidiest toilets in all the land was Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va. Lane is the home of the Virginia Tech Hokies and is a high-tech restroom featuring two-way mirrors that display ads and school messages.

Gary Gonzaba, Cintas’ market development representative, said usually larger, more lavish businesses and restrooms come out on top as restroom bowl champions. Gonzaba said he recognizes the draw for doing one’s business at Buc-ee’s stalls.

Whenever he needs to hit the head on a road trip away from his San Antonio offices, Gonzaba said he bypasses other establishments if there’s a Buc-ee’s on his route.

Aplin said it’s the company’s attention to detail, not the materials or shiny baubles, that makes his commodes the coziest in the country.

“You can build it out of what you want, brass, gold,” Aplin said. “You can build it out of gold but if it’s dirty, it’s just dirty gold.”

Public voting at bestrestroom.com ended with votes being counted through Oct. 26.

Cintas is a national company that — besides sponsoring the best restroom contest — provides businesses with cleaning, safety and other services.

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