Stuckey’s — A Store, Restaurant, Gas Station, and Gift Shop. Then & Now

I remember those Stuckey’s billboards headed up Interstate 75 to grandma and grandpa’s house.

The signs with red letters called out to travelers.  They were mostly near Interstate highways, at least that’s what I remember.

Stuckey's
Stuckey’s billboard. Photo by marada via Flickr under the license CC BY-ND 2.0

Stuckey’s started in 1937.  Its first location was in Eastman, Georgia.   One of the things it became known for were their delicious pecan rolls.  Being in pecan country, founder W.S. Stuckey, Sr., decided to sell some of his pecan crop to the public.  Before becoming a brick-and-mortar establishment and exploding in growth, Stuckey’s was simply a roadside stand.

Stuckey’s Candy Shoppe on U.S. Highway 1 – Hilliard, Florida. 1940s. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

The first shop started with a restaurant, pecan rolls, and other regional delicacies, and its famous peaked roof eventually became a fixture.  Gasoline and standard convenience store products were also available.

An abandoned Stuckey’s in Sedgwick, Colorado, featuring the classic peaked roof and gas canopy.  Photo by Xnatedawgx via Wikipedia under the license CC BY-SA 3.0

Stuckey’s official website has a nice collection of vintage stores in its photo gallery.

For a short time in the 1960s, Stuckey’s had a small chain of motels called the Carriage Inn.  It operated four locations, before Stuckey’s and Carriage Inn became disassociated.

The ever-growing chain had its peak success between 1964 and the late 1970s, during its partnership with Pet Milk.

In the 1980s, with things now in decline, W.S. Stuckey Jr. took over ownership and ended its relationship with Pet Milk.

Things were never the same for this landmark.  In its peak, Stuckey’s had 350 locations, and had dwindled to less than 100 by the time Stuckey’s and Pet ended their partnership.

Gas station in Whitakers, NC. Former Stuckey’s location.

Under the watchful eye of the junior Stuckey, things slowly picked back up.  Stuckey’s now has 24 corporate locations, and over 100 franchise locations in 17 states.

My last visit to Stuckey’s was as a teenager in the mid 1990s.  I remember getting a hamburger, fries, and a soda.  A good roadside meal.  This location in Seffner, Florida (near Plant City) was since torn down and replaced with a 7-Eleven.  Unfortunate, but that’s progress…

Stuckey’s of Today

Stuckey’s in Yeehaw Junction, Florida.  Photo by Infrogmation via Wikipedia under the license CC BY-SA 3.0

Full service locations are mostly in select areas of the southeastern United States and Texas.  They still have their own food menu.

In other areas of the country, Stuckey’s operates as Stuckey’s Express, and still has gifts and pecan rolls in gas stations, such as in the BP gas station pictured above.  Cooked food in these stations isn’t theirs, but belonging to either the gas station itself, or a tenant within the gas station, such as Dairy Queen, Chesterfield Chicken, or Hunt Brothers Pizza.

 

 

Stuckey’s Express location in Wolcott, Indiana.   Photo by xnatedawgx via Wikipedia under the license CC BY-SA 2.0

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