The revival of a business named after her iconic surname was not Stephanie Stuckey’s original life plan. “A year and a half ago, I was the director of sustainability for the city of Atlanta,” she said. “I am a former state representative and I teach law at the University of Georgia.” She now owns Stuckey’s Corporation, including a nut and candy factory in Lanes, Georgia, with 120 employees. He has ambitious designs to bring back the store that was an integral part of his grandfather’s great American road trip.
In the heyday of the 1960s, Stuckey’s had 368 branches in 30 states, offering gifts and souvenirs, restaurant services and Texaco gasoline. But it all started when W.S. “Sylvester” Star settled in Eastman, Georgia in 1937, selling nuts, honey and souvenirs he bought from local farmers and producers. As the business grew, he not only added other more modern stores, but also added more. “My grandfather owns his own shipping company, logo painting company, distribution center and candy factory,” Stephanie Starkey explained. This vertical integration and his keen sense of what the first generation of road travellers wanted when they stopped and rested made him a very successful business empire.
As in these successful cases, American companies came to consult. In 1964, Stuckey’s merged with Pet Milk Co. to provide much-needed funding for the continued growth of the business. However, ownership was transferred to the railway group IC Industries in the 1970s, and the oil crisis reduced the culture of road travel. By the end of the decade, Stuckey’s was going downhill and the store closed quickly.
In 1984, Stephanie’s father, WS, with the help of outside investors, “Billy” Stuckey, Jr. repurchased the business and introduced Stuckey’s Express (a franchise store with concept stores). State expanded to 165 stores. But when Billy Starkey retired in 2014, the recovery stalled. “All of Dad’s colleagues have retired and are ready to sell their shares in the company,” Stephanie Starkey said. “This is my family business, so I have an emotional connection. Although the balance sheet shows losses, I recognize the value of the Stuckey brand. I used my life savings to invest and buy 100% of the shares.
Stephanie Stuckey and RG Lamar
Stephanie Stuckey and RG Lamar Image courtesy of STUCKEY`S CORPORATION
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, after acquiring the company in November 2019, Stuckey takes over as CEO. The following summer, Stuckey’s acquired Front Porch Pecans, a nearby nut snack company. Former Front Porch owner RG Lamar becomes co-owner and president of Stuckey’s. “In January of this year, we jointly received funding from the SBA and CARES laws for the acquisition of candy manufacturing plants and nut shelling,” said Stucky.
Buying a manufacturing plant solved some real business challenges. “We no longer own or operate stores,” Stucky said. “Our franchise fees are very low, so 80% of our income comes from our products and all production is outsourced. The only way to get more profit is through manufacturing. We bought the candy factory and started making gummy, fairy, shelled and flavored pecans. “They also produce the company’s flagship product, pecan rolls.
Lamar helped guide the acquisition of their new factory. “I know the walnut industry well Stephanie wants my experience,” he said. “Walnut business is not easy, market dynamics Very complicated. But I think that in the next five to ten years we will see a substantial increase in consumption.
This growth will bring its own headwinds.” A big challenge is the workforce, “Lamar explained.” We just launched a new factory compensation plan that improves benefits, PTO, and everything else. We are aggressive in this field because we need help. In the last three months, our sales have been huge. The production team was a little scared. ”
Stuckey thinks this is a good sign.” He said, the timing was surprisingly good for us. highway. We are still famous for the road trip brand. People want to buy American products to support their communities. ”Stuckey’s flagship product
Pecan Log Rolls. Stuckey’s flagship product
Pecan Log Rolls. Image courtesy of STUCKEY’S CORPORATION
, and Jason Moss, CEO of Georgia Manufacturing Alliance, agrees. “People are looking for good, healthy and positive things,” he said. “This is an inspiring story, driven by a strong leader who has done amazing things.”
All these new sales are the product of another method of Stuckey, which is expanding its network. Stuckey added several new locations and nearly 200 additional retail partners selling its products. “E-commerce is big too,” Stucky said. “It has helped us improve our image and maintain our cash flow. It has increased 450% compared to last year. It has increased from 1% to 3% of our sales to 10%.”
Cash to Stuckey goal to Important. “We currently have no funds to re-enter the retail industry,” he said. “So our goal is to accumulate cash to achieve the goal. Now this is a five-year plan.”
At the same time, the focus will continue to be on sales growth and manufacturing improvements. “They are committed to bringing technology to the desktop and strengthening their operations,” Moss said. “They are considering bringing in some atypical workers, like disabled and previously incarcerated workers. Stephanie is very interested in doing all of this. I like that she plays a leading role in it.
“I want people to make Stucky their profession,” he said.

By Peter

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