The Unexpectedly Nostalgic Appeal Of Stuckey's

It's a hot summer day, and you find yourself crammed in the back of the family car next to a suitcase of your dad's favorite swim trunks and a take-along bag of half-melted fun-sized candy bars. As your old man grumbles about other drivers on the road and your mother preoccupies herself with flipping between radio stations between reading her sappy romance novel, you can't help but wonder how you got talked into another family road trip. You all end up having a great time together, sure, but as any kid could tell you, being jammed in the backseat of the family car in sweltering hot weather is a special kind of purgatory.

Then, in the distance, rising like a lighthouse from the oceans of asphalt, you see it. In bright red looping letters on a yellow background reads Stuckey's. It's an oasis away from the highway, a place of pecans, candies, and kitschy Americana souvenirs.

Legends of America tells us the story of Stuckey's, how it bloomed in the post-WWII era, declined sharply in the 1970s, and is now slowly beginning to make its way back to its original glory. The gas station/convenience store is beginning to climb out from the corporate drag that held it down for so long, and seeks to re-establish itself as a place where the love of America's highways and classic family trips remain a top priority.

But how can Stuckey's revive itself and join the likes of other rest stop giants like Buc-ee's?

Stuckey's focuses on a return to tradition

How exactly can a company that took such a sharp decline be rebuilt? According to Stuckey's CEO Stephanie Stuckey, all they have to do is return to their roots. Stuckey, who acquired the company in November 2019 (via Forbes), was disillusioned by the way corporate control outside of the family handled the business and now seeks to revitalize the company through a renewed focus on what Stuckey's does best: pecan logs and love for Americana on the open road.

The first step in Stephanie's plan towards rebuilding Stuckey's is through their famous pecan candies, explains Atlanta Eater. In 2021, Stephanie and her business partner R.G. Lamar purchased a candy and pecan-shelling plant in Georgia, which Stephanie believes will help further the connection between sweet pecan candies and Stuckey's. With a focus on Stuckey's famed pecan logs, the business can slowly get back on its feet, selling Stuckey's candy products in stores across the United States.

But Stuckey's resurgence wouldn't be complete without focusing on its Americana roots. Stephanie is working to ensure that the classic family road trip, full of sights both weird and fantastic, is something that isn't forgotten. The Pecan Blog Roll routinely updates with stores of fantastical American destinations, from funky off-beat motor motels to quirky roadside attractions. 

While it'll take some time to get Stuckey's back to its former glory, it seems that people are slowly returning to what was once America's oasis off the highway.