It wasn't a road trip until Dad pulled the family station wagon into the Stuckey's parking lot. Originally founded in Eastman, Georgia in the early 1930's, Stuckey's convenience stores started out as a roadside stand selling pecans from an overabundance of the family's orchard on US Route 23.
And just like that, the Stuckey family (headed by Williamson Stuckey Sr.) started their business selling pecans to road travelers. Mrs. Ethel Stuckey created pecan treats like the pecan log roll and pecan divinity in her kitchen to sell to weary travelers. It's time same recipe they still use today.
Weekly Post Card from the Past: This is an original Stuckey's location that was in operation through 2012. The...
In 1937, the family constructed their first store building, sharing their pecan specialties. The store continually upgraded, and at one point included a restaurant, gas pumps and it's characteristic teal blue roof. The store became an instant hit and more and more stores started opening up along Florida and Georgia. It seemed like the sky was the limit for this roadside stop.
However, that wasn't always the case. During the onset of World War II, Stuckey's started to decline due to sugar rationing. The company wasn't able to produce the number of sweets they were used to, and thus some business was lost.
Thankfully the stores started to pick back up after the war and eventually the family built a candy factory behind their original store to produce Stuckey's candy to distribute across the Southern United States.
At its peak, there were 350 Stuckey's stores in states like Texas and even Pennsylvania. The stores were booming, and with that, the selling of the company to a larger corporation was a wise financial decision in 1967.
Unfortunately, the new owners (Pet Milk Inc.) took all of the family personality out of the stores, and because of that, the stores lost popularity. After the death of Williamson Stuckey Sr. in 1977, the family decided to buy back the company with a group of partners. Williamson Stuckey Jr. "could not accept the demise of his family name from the American landscape."
Today Stuckey's is building itself back up, with over 115 locations along the most popular highways in the country including Missouri, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The Stuckey's stores still have an eclectic retro feel with everything a modern convenience store offers. Operated under a Stuckey's Express Stop concept, the stores are co-branded to include gas stations and fast food restaurants like Dairy Queen and McDonald's. While it's not quite like the original Stuckey's, it's still a fun store to stop in while on the road.
The next time you find yourself on the highway, keep an eye out for the new and improved Stuckey's serving up your favorite pecan candies.