That’s what Dad would look for when we were on road trip back in the 1960’s. From Illinois to Virginia and without a GPS, he would get worried if he couldn’t find one because they were located off major highways. One time, we stopped during a storm and Dad was so excited how friendly staff was to its customers. He liked the pecan roll even though I wasn’t much into nuts at the time. But Stuckeys was a convenience store and gift shop too so we could get everything we needed including Texaco gas. On road trips, I always looked for souvenirs with my name, Karla with a K, never found them back then.
W.S. “Sylvester” Stuckey, Sr. founded Stuckey’s as a roadside pecan stand along Highway 23 in Eastman, GA in 1937. With his truck and the loan (from his grandmother), W.S. drove around the countryside and bought pecans from local farmers to sell at his stand, along with local honey and souvenirs. His wife, Ethel, added her delicious homemade candies. It’s true popularity took off in the 1960’s 368 stores in over 30 states, each offering kitschy souvenirs, clean restrooms, Texaco gas, and candy. Stuckeys had merged with Pet Milk in 1964 and the founder died in 1977. That same year, Illinois Central Industries bought Pet Milk and began to close Stuckey stores.
In 1984, W.S. “Billy” Stuckey, Jr., son of the founder and a five-term Congressman from the 8th District of Georgia, acquired Stuckey’s and the company began to grow. In 2019, Billy’s daughter Ethel “Stephanie” Stuckey took over the company and in 2020 acquired Front Porch Pecans and RG Lama became President. In January of 2021, Stephanie and R.G. acquired Atwell Pecans, The Orchards Gourmet, and Thames corporations.
Today, they have 65 franchised retailers. However, they have an amazing online business with over 200 retailers involved over many decades. Though for me and my dad, it was a roadside vacation all by itself….the place where everyone had to stop.