The Family Business
by Lisa Coleman
Many of you have had experiences with family businesses. If we could only sit down and share the highs and lows of the triumphs and trials! Statistics say that for most family businesses, transfer to the second generation is difficult at best and most third generation attempts fail. Families fracture under the emotion and strain of attempts to navigate these often volatile yet fragile entities.
One notable family business was Stucky’s. It was sold to larger corporations and allowed to deteriorate.
It is rare that a family gets their company back and revives it – not once, but twice!
When remembering the good ole days of Route 66, do you have memories of your family stopping at Stuckey’s to browse through their pecan log rolls, pralines, and peanut brittle?
So……. here’s their story.
It began in the 1930s with W.S. Stuckey, Sr. He started out selling pecans during the great depression as a side hustle to make extra money and hopefully escape life working on a cotton farm, which he hated. He and his wife, Ethel, set up a roadside stand to take advantage of winter tourists. They sold shelled and unshelled pecans as well as batches of pecan candy that Ethel made. They opened their first retail store in Eastman, Georgia. Eventually, the military commissioned them to produce candy for the men.
In 1948, they began large-scale candy production and set up more stores. By 1953, they had 29 stores and in 1964 they had over a hundred. After a merger and later, a hostile takeover, the stores began to falter. Stores were sold off for the real estate value and others were closed. Sadly, what had taken W.S. Stuckey a lifetime to build was largely lost.
But in 1985, Billy Stuckey, son of W.S. Stuckey, purchased the remaining assets of Stuckey’s including the trademark, the franchise system, and the few remaining stores. After a successful merger, Billy sold his company, including the Stuckey’s system, and once again, the company began to fail.
In 2019, Billy’s daughter, Ethel Stephanie Stuckey, granddaughter of W.S. Stuckey, purchased the company and made it once again profitable by developing more retail and online sales channels, creating a line of branded merchandise, and acquiring a pecan shelling/candy manufacturing plant.
It makes me think of another ‘family business’ that was lost. It was a land company of sorts. It was formed with management put into place and ultimately, after a catastrophic merger with their enemy, it was lost. Join us this Sunday as we learn more about the New Earth and its return to its original management!
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May God bless you and your study, as you seek to know Him better through the study of His Word.
Yours in Christ,