"Companies like Stuckey's, and leaders like Stephanie are a big part of what makes Georgia and this region so special. Their comeback story is truly incredible, and the fact that they remain focused on building community, growing the business as a family, and investing back into the state makes it even more remarkable. I'm proud to partner with this legendary business, and look forward to their continued success."
Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey's Corporation with Matt Forshee, Georgia Power Community Development Manager for the East Region
I'm Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey’s Corporation, and we are at our candy plant in Wrens, Georgia. Stuckey’s began as a roadside pecan stand in 1937 in Eastman, Georgia. And it grew from those very humble beginnings. At its peak in the 1970s, we had 368 stores in 40 states, a candy plant, a billboard company and a trucking company. My grandfather sold the company in 1964. It was out of our family for decades, and I had the unexpected opportunity in 2019 right before COVID hit, to buy the company. The biggest thing I've done to grow Stuckey’s is to get back to our roots literally by purchasing this plant in Wrens, Georgia. And so we now shell pecans and make pecans ourselves for the first time in 50 years.
Before that, we were outsourcing our product, and now everything is sourced locally from farmers here in Georgia. We also make our candies, our pecan snacks, and we distribute them all over the country. The best part about our journey is really being a part of the community. It means so much for us to be not just bringing Stuckey's back, but bringing back rural communities.
We partner with the technical schools, we partner with Georgia Tech, we're partnering with the local high school, and we're partnering with Georgia Power. None of this could be possible without the electrical upgrades that we've had at our plant. It's all a partnership to make sure that we're not just making a profit, we're building community.
We're a family business and we like to have that sense of belonging. So whether you have your family members working here or not, you're part of the Stuckey’s family. We have about 100 jobs right now, full time. When I bought the company, we had six full time jobs. And we plan to increase that by 60 over the next few years. We're working with the economic development team at Georgia Power, Oconee Fall Line Technical College, and the high school to have that pipeline of talent that can help us grow. Our big, audacious goal is for Stuckey’s to be the go-to brand for pecan snacks in the country.
When you go to your supermarket, convenience store, or your specialty store snack nut aisle, you are going to see Stuckey’s pecans grown in Georgia right next to Planters Peanuts and The Wonderful Pistachios and Blue Diamond Almonds. We want to be right there on the aisle with everyone else, showcasing Georgia grown products.
I think about my grandfather a lot, and I do think he's looking down and he's part of this journey. People often ask me, why did I have this major career change from lawyer and legislator to CEO candy maker? I had zero experience running a business, the company was six figures in debt ,and I invested my life savings at age 53. So why did I do that? The answer is pretty simple.
I loved my grandfather.
His legacy is going to be a story of revival and bringing what made our brand special back.