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I’m Stuck on Following Stephanie Stuckey’s Comeback Road Trip

The Debbie Nigro Show

Release Date: 04/04/2024

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Stephanie Stuckey a lawyer by trade, who spent 14 years in the Georgia House of Representatives and was also appointed along the way by the mayor of Atlanta as Atlanta’s 'Chief Resilience Officer', is sure showing how resilient she is. And how resilient her family business is!

 

Stephanie is now on the road herself promoting Stuckey’s Corporation - the iconic roadside stops famous for its pecan candies and souvenirs that her grandfather founded in 1937. She bought the company in 2019 for $500,000 and has been spearheading the brands big return.

 

It’s a big year for brand comebacks as evidenced by news that other companies like Crocs and Claire’s have made significant comebacks in recent years after hitting a low point financially and culturally in the late 2010s . According to Retail Brew the top executives of both those companies pointed to strategic shifts that emphasized allowing customer feedback to guide decisions.

 

Stephanie Stuckey, the 3rd generation CEO of the family business, is creating a great business comeback story too. She’s making Stuckey’s both profitable and a household name again! And doing a great grassroots job of it.

 

When Stephanie bought Stuckey's, the company was operating at a deficit and had only 13 original free-standing stores in 10 states that still had the signature original teal roofs in addition to around 65 licensed Stuckey's Express store-within- a -store locations.

 

In 6 months, she restored Stuckey's to profitability, by shifting the focus from licensed Stuckey's store locations to the company's classic line of candies. She also expanded the brand back into manufacturing when she bought a pecan shelling and candy plant in Wrens, Georgia in 2021. Candy and nut sales have since increased to almost 50% of the company’s revenue as the brand expands to more national retail locations.

 

Stephanie is now taking road trips to promote pecans and the "great American road trip' both a big part of Stuckey's Corporation growth.

 

“I'm all over the country and here's why I'm traveling. I am giving speeches, and I am attending trade shows. So, it's not checking on stores per se because we don't own or operate the original Stuckey’s that were still standing. We have the rights to those stores and to our name so they can they pay us a licensing fee, but we don't own those stores. So really my trips are about I give speeches and I love talking to groups and sharing the Stuckey’s story. So, I speak at a lot of conferences, mostly corporate and associations and then I attend trade shows to get more retailers to sell our product and then wherever I go, part of the deal is usually my travels covered by the host of the event. My travel includes that I get a rental car so I will carve out an extra day. I'll ask for that's where I take a lot of road trips."


"And then I'll pull over and I'll find out from our team where is there a store in the area that carries Stuckey's products. So, there could be a little local ice cream shop that sells our candy, or we could reach off the chain so we're in Hobby Lobby and at home. So I like to also stop at retailers that don't carry our product and take photos and I evaluate what their back set looks like and then I'll reach out to them and say I love your store by the way I was here here's a photo of me at your store I would love to see you carry our product that's what's missing on your shelf and I've picked out a lot of accounts that way."


"I'm road tripping, but I'm also hustling. We're always hustling if we're entrepreneurs.”


Stephanie Stuckey hopes to eventually own a handful of Stuckey’s interstate stores to revive the original premise behind the company as a “roadside oasis” while continuing to build up the pecan side of the business to secure its future for another 85 years.

 

Speaking of pecans Stephanie shared a little a secret her grandfather taught her about how to open pecans.

“You get two pecans in your hand, and you squeeze them together and it will crack them.”

 

I’m really enjoying watching this female entrepreneur bring her family brand back to life from the days when her grandpa started this as a roadside stand.

Stephanie has a new book out called “UNSTUCK” which is available on her website as well as Amazon for the same price, but if you buy it on the Stuckey’s website it’s autographed.

 

 “The entrepreneurial journey is so much more fun if you bring others along for the ride” she said.

 

I'm along for her ride! And she did invite me along for the ride because I too am a lover of road trips. Told her you bring the pecans, and I’ll bring some meatballs. Makes sense I think for a Georgia gal traveling with a NY gal. LOL

 

Speaking of NY, Stephanie hasn’t been here in 4 years and would love to do some ‘speaking and Stuckey’s business’ in NY.  

 

I love her story and her entrepreneurial spirit. Meet Stephanie Stuckey in this podcast of our live conversation on The Debbie Nigro Show.

 

The Debbie Nigro Show on  WGCH Radio. If you want to catch the show it airs Weekdays 11-12noon ET in the NY/CT area on 1490 on the dial. But you can listen from anywhere, just hit the ‘Listen Live’ button on WGCH.com. You can find podcasts of feature interviews on DebbieNigro.com. Sign up for the free 'Risk It or Regret It" newsletter too. It's fun, relevant and motivating.