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History[edit source | edit]
Early days[edit source | edit]
Stuckey’s originated in the early 1930s in Eastman, Georgia. When founder W. S. Stuckey, Sr., had a successful pecan harvest from his family's orchard he decided to offer a portion of the crop for sale in a lean-to roadside shed. Many Florida-bound tourists travelingU.S. Route 23 stopped to purchase the pecans.
As the roadside business continued to expand, Stuckey's wife, Ethel, created a variety of homemade pecan candies to sell at the stand, including pecan log rolls and pecan divinity. In 1937, Stuckey constructed his first store building. Much like the former roadside lean-to, the new business focused on selling these Southern candies to highway travelers. This first Stuckey’s shop added a restaurant, then a novelty section, and then gas pumps. The final addition was a teal blue roof (which would later become the company's trademark). Until the onset of World War II, Stuckey’s continued to open stores in Georgia and Florida. The number of stores declined somewhat during WWII due to the effects of wartime sugar rationing.
After WWII ended, the Stuckey’s business once again began to grow and it sold a number of new franchises. The company constructed a candy factory to supply an eventual 350-plus Stuckey's stores located throughout the continental United States. As the post-war baby boom flourished and families undertook more long-distance auto travel, Stuckey's continued to grow as they were usually constructed along major highways and frequently were paired with Texaco gas stations as well as restaurants and clean restrooms.
Downfall, then rise[edit source | edit]
In 1960, W. S. Stuckey attempted to create a hotel chain called Stuckey's Carriage Inn, but opened only four locations. In 1967, Stuckey's merged with Pet, Inc., maker ofPet Milk.
The company at its peak had over 350 locations, which dwindled to fewer than 75 after a decline in the late 1970s under ownership by Pet. It was repurchased by formerCongressman W.S. Stuckey, Jr., in 1985. It currently has over 200 franchise stores in 19 states.