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Reviving an American Icon: Stephanie Stuckey (ep. 634)

Stephanie Stuckey

John O’Leary welcomes Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey’s on the Live Inspired Podcast to share her journey of reviving an iconic American brand and how to embrace life’s pivots to make a comeback.

In 1937, Stephanie Stuckey’s grandfather opened one roadside pecan stand. At its peak, Stuckey’s was a one-stop oasis for travelers along America’s highways, with their iconic pecan log rolls available in more than 350 stores in 40 states.

After her grandfather’s death and decades of outside ownership however, the once beloved Stuckey’s brand fell into disrepair.

And yet, it’s never too late to reimagine what is possible.

Today, Stephanie shares how she’s reviving an iconic American brand, how she continues to build upon her family’s legacy and how she’s calling upon her grandfather’s wisdom to help Stuckey’s become the go-to pecan snack brand in the world.

If you’re looking for a story that celebrates how to embrace life’s pivots to make a comeback, this conversation is for you.


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  • Growing up as a middle child, Stephanie learned to be creative and outspoken.
  • In charge of her own destiny: While attending an all girls school, Stephanie felt empowered to try things that are non-traditional for women, and succeed at doing so.
  • “I learned to argue for the underdog and that’s the theme throughout my career.”
  • After spending 14 years in Georgia state legislator, Stephanie found politics becoming more partisan and divisive and opted not to run for re-election.
  • Comebacks are possible: Stephanie reminds us that when taking a life pivot, make sure there is a higher calling to get you through the tough days.
  • While Head of Sustainability for an environmental nonprofit in Atlanta, Stephanie learned Stuckey’s – a company created by her grandfather – was for sale.
  • Stuckey’s started in Eastman, Georgia during the Great Depression as roadside pecan stand. At its peak in the 1970s, there were almost 400 stores in 40 states on every major interstate.
  • Big Daddy’s Papers: After sinking her life savings into a company six figures in the red, Stephanie went through long-forgotten boxes of her grandfather’s things which outlined how he built Stuckey’s into a successful business. This gave her the inspiration to rebuild and reinstate her family’s legacy.
  • Mush on: When a bill Stephanie introduced to Georgia legislature got beat terribly, a former boss reminded her to keep going. Six years later, the bill passed highlighting that failure is there to point you in another direction
  • Learn more about Stuckey’s (or order Stuckey’s famous pecan log rolls!) here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode? 

You’ll love our Entrepreneur playlist. Discover invaluable insights and inspiring lessons from  former Starbuck’s president Howard Behar, Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, Hint Water CEO Kara Goldin… and more. Listen to the Entrepreneur playlist now.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. Good to Great by Jim Collins.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Persistence.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My grandfather's papers.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Sam Walton and my grandfather.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. From Jim Carrey, "the most valuable currency any of us have is the effect we have on others."
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Don't lose sight of your naïveté.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. She cared about others.