If your family ever took one of those summer road-trip vacations, you likely encountered Stuckey’s somewhere along your route. An oasis for highway travelers of any sort, Stuckey’s offered a place to rest, gas up, or have a 99-cent breakfast. If you had a sweet tooth, they had plenty of their famous pecan rolls on hand. If you needed a quick souvenir, they offered a wall-to-wall assortment of trinkets, from rattlesnake earrings to coffee mugs, Mexican rugs to t-shirts. Stuckey’s was a welcome sight to many a weary family.
To whom do we owe our thanks? That would be W.S. Stuckey, a traveling pecan salesman from Georgia. In the 30s, both his business and America’s roadway system were flourishing and the entrepreneur sensed opportunity. He opened his first roadside stand in 1936, along a well-traveled route in Eastman, Georgia. He wanted to sell something other than raw pecans, so his wife whipped up a batch of her delicious pecan log rolls. A year later, he had to replace his stand with a full-sized store to help meet the demand. Soon after, a restaurant was added.
The time was right to expand, and Stuckey’s began dotting the landscape, in Georgia and beyond. The sugar shortages of WWII put a damper on business in the 40s, but the company bounced back, and then some, once the war was over. Franchises began popping up all across the country, now paired with Texaco which made them a one-stop shop along the highway. By the time the 60s rolled around, there were over 350 Stuckey’s scattered across the country.