Stephanie Stuckey: UnStuck: Rebirth of an American Icon

Today my guest is Stephanie Stuckey, granddaughter of the man who founded Stuckey’s—a roadside pecan stand in Eastman, Georgia, in 1937 during the Great Depression. As the first national roadside retail chain, the company grew to almost 370 stores throughout the US, along every major highway. Stuckey’s became synonymous with “the road trip.”Before there was Love’s, RaceTrac, Wawa, or Buc-ee’s—there was Stuckey’s.


Stephanie’s grandfather sold the company, and it was out of the family’s hands for over 50 years. The result was a decline in his legacy and the company brand—with dilapidated, sad-looking stores on the side of the road.


However, one day, Stephanie got an unexpected call with an offer to buy back the family company. It was for sale. She invested her life savings and bought Stuckey’s, even though she had a full career as an attorney and an environmental advocate, and no business background. “When an opportunity like this comes along, you grab it,” she says. Today Stephanie is the CEO of Stuckey’s, and working to revive her grandfather’s legacy. The company’s sales have grown $10 million in the past 36 months, with 75 employees. “Our goal is to be the go-to snack brand for pecans in the country,” says Stephanie.


In this episode, we discuss:


  • My own experience going on family road trips all across the country, and how we couldn’t wait as kids to stop at Stuckey’s for their infamous pecan roll (the recipe of which was perfected by Stephanie’s grandmother)

  • How Stuckey’s was an “oasis on the side of the road” that broke up the monotony of driving for hours without seeing anything—and how it provided travelers with a unique, wonderful experience, even during the era of racial segregation

  • How Stuckey’s started, why Stephanie’s grandfather was so passionate about expanding the company, and how it made money as a franchise by selling gas

  • Why Stephanie purchased the company and how that opportunity came about

  • How Stephanie is working to bring Stuckey’s back to the grandness that it that it once was


Stuckey’s is a brand with “sticking power”—87 years later, they’re still around. “Our pecan snacks are rooted in roadside Americana. We represent a brand that is all about Americana—getting in a car, exploring, and that unique American sense of independence,” Stephanie says. “When you buy a pecan log roll you are celebrating the comeback.”

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