SAN DIEGO — The key to Stuckey’s comeback has been its return to a focus on candy and nut manufacturing for its pecan logs, candy and snack nuts, according to Stephanie Stuckey, the third generation Stuckey and accidental chief executive officer who is reclaiming her family business.

Ms. Stuckey revealed to attendees at the BEMA Convention 2022, held June 22-25, that returning to the company’s manufacturing roots and telling the company story have been the best road to turning a dying business into a profitable one. 

When Ms. Stuckey bought her family’s business back in November 2019, the financial statements reported a $166,000 deficit. Despite having zero assets in stores or manufacturing, she managed to turn a profit within seven months through simply telling the brand’s story on social media and selling off old inventory. 

Despite not having a background in business, Ms. Stuckey attributed her success to her grandfather’s papers, which were given to her by her mother. By pouring over this history, she discovered that while Stuckey’s was known for its rest stops, her grandfather made his money from manufacturing and selling his famous candies. 

“We were selling hospitality and warmth on the road, but the product was our candy,” she said. 

In order to turn the business around, Ms. Stuckey went back to those basics. Stuckey’s invested in a pecan processing facility and a candy plant and began making its own candy again in January 2021. The Eastman, Ga.-based company has become profitable again by selling those candies and snack pecans not only in its remaining 17 stores, but also in other retail stores, both large customers and small. 

“Manufacturing has been a gamechanger for us,” she said, attributing 70% of the company’s current success to manufacturing and the remaining 30% to the company’s re-brand. 

The new logo harkens back to the original Mr. Stuckey’s signature, while lifting the brand into the modern age and highlighting the product. 

Today Ms. Stuckey said the goal is to grow but scale responsibly and keeping the business in the family.