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Episode 80: Phoenix Rising; How Stephanie Stuckey Reclaimed Her Family Business

In this episode of the Family Business Show, host Michael Palumbos from Rochester, New York, welcomes Stephanie Stuckey, the CEO of Stuckey's, a renowned roadside oasis brand. The episode delves into the unique journey of Stephanie taking over her family's business, which wasn't initially planned for her.

Stephanie shares her unconventional path to leadership in the family business. Unlike typical family business narratives where successors are groomed from an early age, Stephanie's entry into Stuckey's was unexpected. With a background in public service and environmental advocacy, she stepped into the business world when Stuckey's faced financial troubles. Her grandfather, the founder, had sold the business before she was born, and it changed hands outside the family until she took the opportunity to buy it back.

Throughout the discussion, Stephanie highlights the importance of adapting and evolving in business, drawing lessons from her grandfather's ability to pivot during challenging times, such as during World War II and the advent of the Interstate highway system. She emphasizes the significance of having a sense of purpose and treating every customer as a friend, a philosophy that has guided Stuckey's through its journey.

Michael and Stephanie also explore the complexities of merging company cultures, scaling the business, and the essential role of having a clear sense of purpose. Stephanie's goal is to grow Stuckey's into a $100 million company by its 100th anniversary in 2037 and establish it as the leading pecan snack brand.

The episode concludes with insights on leadership, the importance of embracing change, and the necessity of aligning with a core purpose that transcends generations, making it a compelling narrative for anyone interested in the dynamics of family businesses and leadership transitions.

Watch the entire episode!

Episode 80 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Welcome everybody to the family business show. I am your host, Michael Columbus, with family welcome legacy in Rochester, New York, and as always, we just get these more and more spectacular guests today. We are honored and so excited to bring Stephanie Stuckey from Stuckies



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Stephanie Stuckey: to you today, and we just want to say. Thank you and welcome Stephanie. Thank you. It's my pleasure.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So we have a tradition on the show, because we are the family business. Show every current number of a family business usually takes a different journey



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: on how they got involved in the family business, and I've kind of seen yours a little bit you. This is not a lifelong journey for you



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: to have been running stuckies. So do you mind telling us a little history on Stephanie? And what was your journey to get to where you are today with the company?



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Stephanie Stuckey: I'd be glad to you, and at the end i'm be really interested in whether they're



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Stephanie Stuckey: Is any other family business member you've interviewed who has a similar trajectory because mine is very different.



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Stephanie Stuckey: I was not groomed to be in the family business. I'm 5 of 7 grandchildren. The business was founded by my grandfather.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and i'm number 4 of my father's children.



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Stephanie Stuckey: so I was never the heir parent, I mean quite often you see it go down by age or ranking whatever I was not.



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Stephanie Stuckey: I was not in the equation, but even more importantly than that. My grandfather Sole stuckies the business he founded that is known to some



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Stephanie Stuckey: as a roadside oasis for generations. Right it was, you know, really peaked in the 1970 S. We had over 350 stores and 40 States, and we had a candy plan, a distribution business, a trucking company, and a signed painting company



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Stephanie Stuckey: that covered america's highways with 4,000 billboards, urging people to pull over. Now for a peak and log girl. So he built all of that, and he sold it before I was born, so I didn't grow up as the heir parent. I never got a business degree. It was not



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Stephanie Stuckey: in the



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Stephanie Stuckey: in the my strategic life, professional plan at all.



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Stephanie Stuckey: And so I had a a full career mostly dedicated to public service. I started out as a public defender. I'm. A lawyer, and then I translated that into being a legislator.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and I focus mostly on environmental issues. I got very passionate about conservation and clean air, clean water, etc. And then I left the Legislature after 14 years, and ran an environmental law firm.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and then I was picked by the Mayor of Atlanta, to be head of the city of Atlanta's environmental programming and sustainability



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Stephanie Stuckey: division. So I love that I was very happy and at age 53.



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Stephanie Stuckey: I had the completely unexpected



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Stephanie Stuckey: opportunity to buy Stuckies at that point. It had been out of our family hands and owned by several different outside corporations, and



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Stephanie Stuckey: it was 6 figures in debt.



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Stephanie Stuckey: So it's kind of a mess, and i'm happy to go into more detail there. My father did get the company back up. And so it was an investment group that he was one of the owners, the the last group. But it was. It was a mass Mo. Of all the principals had retired for almost a decade.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and no one else in the family wanted it, and so I invest in my life savings and bought the company. That was a little over 3 years ago.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, well, no one is going to have that story.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: No. What's going to have that story as you were talking, I had one that came close. So



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the brothers, when you you know the come on.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah bidders to your You know your the fees. P. Brothers is a. They make bidders around like an old fashioned, and he was in the insurance business his whole life. And then, you know no, no intention of being part of the business. And like 2 years ago



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: his aunt tapped him and said, You and your brother want this, and he's like. okay, and they they ended up taking it over with no background in it whatsoever.



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Stephanie Stuckey: So there, yeah, they're definitely some parallels, and that they they weren't groomed for this, which I actually think is a



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Stephanie Stuckey: in some ways can be a real advantage, because you have all these other life experiences related to leadership, or often you have different skill sets like creativity



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Stephanie Stuckey: and



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Stephanie Stuckey: big thinking. And so there are different things that I brought to the table. But of course I brought



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Stephanie Stuckey: others on board and created a real team, and we're making it happen. But I think what's super unique about our story, and I do know of one other company that share something similar, and the unique part is that we lost the business and we got it down.



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Stephanie Stuckey: That's what's unique. Most family businesses. It does not a lot of family hands, and then they get it back. You see frequently that they.



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Stephanie Stuckey: someone in the family sells and it's gone. You don't get back. The only other company I know that has gotten it back.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and i'm now on their board is Bells



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Stephanie Stuckey: Department store chain out of Florida. It's spelled B. E. A. L. S. Sometimes people pronounce it as bills, and pronounce it fanatically. This called bells, and that was founded



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Stephanie Stuckey: it during the great depression by the current. CEO's great grandfather



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Stephanie Stuckey: and they went bankrupt.



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Stephanie Stuckey: fell out of their hands, and then about a decade later. So they got their back sooner than we on ours. They they got the the business back, and he said that the grand, the great grandson, says it's in our DNA



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Stephanie Stuckey: that we lost this and that we got it back. You know it's like that much precious to us, because we know how rare that is.



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Stephanie Stuckey: Oh, my! It's amazing business. I'm so honored to be a part of that company in a small way, as a member of their board.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it. Tell me I mean



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you. You. You just said magic words. It's in my DNA. It's in it's in our DNA you know it so think about that you're 53 years old.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and you took your life savings to say, okay, we're gonna do something different. You had a totally it, was it? It? It it wasn't. You know what a a 10 degree turn, or a 40 degree 80 degrees. Oh, he! It was 600, you know. 720 degree. Turn that, you know. Get you around be like



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: to make this decision?



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Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, I was a hippie, I I I still am I



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Stephanie Stuckey: what birken stocks and hung out at my local coffee shop, drinking oat, milk latte, and talking about the saving the world and my little green bubble.



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Stephanie Stuckey: I'm still a vegetarian. I'm still dedicated to the environment. I still like to relax and



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Stephanie Stuckey: broken stock. So yeah, but it yeah, i'm not corporate CEO type



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Stephanie Stuckey: at all.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Okay, now, having said that



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Stephanie Stuckey: you gotta dress part sometimes, right? And you gotta yeah, step up to the plate. So i'm totally fine doing that, because I will do what it takes to build this company back.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What what was it for you? I want to? The the first time that the opportunity came up. What were you thinking? What was the feeling that you had when you heard about this.



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Stephanie Stuckey: So this is embarrassing. I was flattered that



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Stephanie Stuckey: they thought I had what it took to by the company and take it over. and then I realized that no one else was in.



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Stephanie Stuckey: That was the only one



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Stephanie Stuckey: who either was interested or had the resources, or but you know I had both, so there was some interest, but



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Stephanie Stuckey: the members who were interested didn't have a resources, so I I was it So I was flattered, and until I realized that no I was, I was somewhat of a the desperation choice. But



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Stephanie Stuckey: that's great, because it gives you a bit of a chip on your shoulder.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and you want to prove that you can do it. Maybe not that you want to prove the others wrong. You just want to prove that you can do it. And there's there's nothing more motivating than



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Stephanie Stuckey: wanting to be able to show that it's possible.



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Stephanie Stuckey: Confront the naysayers. Say, you know what this is. I can do this. This can happen, and then



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Stephanie Stuckey: you want to show up for others. I I just hope that there's



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Stephanie Stuckey: someone listening who may have a family business that fill out of their hands, or might fall out of their hands if the next generation doesn't take it on and let this be a cautionary tale?



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Stephanie Stuckey: Don't let it fall out of hands. because what happened to Stuckies could happen to you. Most of my grandfather's stores are shuttered. There's only 13 original stores still standing.



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Stephanie Stuckey: Many of them are now strip clubs and trucker bars, and it's heartbreaking.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: turning it around. It's not too late.



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Stephanie Stuckey: No, a 100% not dead yet. We're we're off the life support. We're walking.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it. I love it. Walk me through



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: your You know what you know the stories of your grandfather, and what he had done with the company, and



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: what's what stuck out most for you? What are the things that you know when you, when you look at what your grandfather did that make you reach back and say, i'm tapping into that?



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Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, there, there's 3 main lessons I learned from him, and just to back up. I was 12 when he died. I it was he died a week after my twelfth birthday, so



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Stephanie Stuckey: I wish i'd known him better. I knew him as my grandfather, because he was not running the company.



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Stephanie Stuckey: He sold it, so I I knew him as my grandfather. So once I bought the company that he had built, I rediscovered him in a whole different light by reading his papers.



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Stephanie Stuckey: That was really the best gift I got. The the company was a hot mask, but my mom gave me my grandfather's papers that no one had looked at in 50 years.



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Stephanie Stuckey: so I spent a lot of time reading him and resurrecting him, and



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Stephanie Stuckey: it was almost like he was speaking to me from the grave right, and I was retelling a story. By the way, Shameless Plug. I am working on my book right now, and it is his story alternating with my story, and it's the lessons I learned from him. So the 3 main lessons. First is the ability to pivot.



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Stephanie Stuckey: I learned that during World War Ii. He had several stores, and he was doing really well, but he had to shut his stores because gas was rationed, and he no longer had access to sugar, which was his main ingredient for all the candy he was making, and so he had to re envision his business to survive from being



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Stephanie Stuckey: roadside stores to. He bought a manufacturing plant



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Stephanie Stuckey: and supplied candy to the troops. So he got government contracts, so he reinvented himself, so that's number one, like Don't. Be afraid to pivot and reinvent yourself at a necessity.



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Stephanie Stuckey: The second lesson I learned came at another crisis. So the best lessons come out of crisis, and that was when the Interstate highway system came along.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and at that point he had a lot of stores, and they were on the Jefferson Highway, the Lincoln Highway route 66, the Dixie highway, and the Interstate bypassed all that



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Stephanie Stuckey: he had to shutter those stores, and he could have steadfastly and stubbornly stayed where he was. But



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Stephanie Stuckey: he would have gone under, and what did he do? He embraced the reality of what was happening, and he said, i'm gonna go to the Interstate. I'm going to go all in. He uses opportunity to brand the stores. He created an iconic design that had a turquoise slope roof that many people recognize.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and he did a really smart business move. He entered into an exclusive agreement with Mexico to provide their gas on the Interstate highway system, and he got a percentage of every gallon pumped, and that made him a millionaire



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Stephanie Stuckey: so amazing lesson there. And the third and the most important is to have a sense of purpose.



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Stephanie Stuckey: His saying was every traveler as a friend. I found that throughout his papers, and I learned that that was what he had framed above his desk.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and it's really not only what he looked at every day, but it's how he lived his life, and how he ran his business.



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Stephanie Stuckey: The best example of that is that during the era of segregation Stuckies was never whites, only we were always a welcoming, hospitable brand and Whites blacks. Everyone



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Stephanie Stuckey: knew that they could pull over, and we were a safe stop.



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Stephanie Stuckey: So, having that sense of purpose that every person who comes in contact with your brand



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Stephanie Stuckey: is going to be treated with respect and warmth and hospitality. They're going to be your friend. so I carry all those lessons today right? When I bought his company it was a mess I had to figure out what to do. We had these franchises, franchises that were out of date.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and the stores weren't making very much money. and the manufacturing have been outsourced for 50 years. so I had to turn things around, and we bought a manufacturing facility with Sba loan. So we leverage some government financing



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Stephanie Stuckey: and we're making candy again. So that's what he did in a crisis. Right? He pivoted. He made candy. We're making our snacks and candies. We went from



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Stephanie Stuckey: selling to less than 100 locations to almost 5,000. We went from 2 million in sales to over 13 million in 3 years.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and it's because we were able to pivot.



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Stephanie Stuckey: and then just a sense of purpose throughout. You treat everyone



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Stephanie Stuckey: as a friend. and that's our brand we're road-tripping, friendly brand.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, and it's so for anybody that's listening, that is not on Linkedin, I implore you to get on linkedin. And what, Stephanie, what you just said



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: is everything that's happening on linkedin for you and what you're doing. It's not there's nothing happening for you. You created a an image on linkedin that shares the purpose. There are more people posting stuckies, stuff and tagging. You intend. I love that. And those are You've made friends, not just on the roadside places, but on the Internet and utilizing that in such a fabulous manner



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the pivot, you know, for a lot of families



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: it was. Covid was the first time we heard the word pivot before.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and and so I think it's really wonderful that you know. You went back and looked at the history. I tell people all the time stories bind us story, learn, and pay attention to what they said, because the lessons are there, and you don't know when you're going to need that story to be resurrected and come back and do it again. So



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Stephanie Stuckey: yeah, story stick right. That's what you remember you. You may not like, I think, about sermons



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Stephanie Stuckey: on Sunday. I will often sorry if my preachers listening. I'll often forget a lot about what was said from the pulpit, but i'll remember the stories that that's what



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Stephanie Stuckey: that's what connects us with each other. And you mentioned image, which I think it is important. You have a consistent image that you put out there, but it's it's authentic right like I



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Stephanie Stuckey: love to road trip. and i'm stuckies so you can't get any more authentic than



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Stephanie Stuckey: having that on the brand. So you have to be authentic. You have to be real. You have to say something that's relevant, and it's interesting.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: When we follow you. You do not look like a corporate attorney or somebody that's working in government. You look like Stephanie stuck in that. Where's the Birken stocks? And it's just out of hand eating people, and



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: very, very nice, and a lesson for anybody that is working on their brand on social media. And but it to to your point. It needs to be authentic to them.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Is that not Don't? Recreate, Stephanie's story. Recreate yours, and figure out you know what are those things? What is your purpose? And you know what is your vision for where you're going? So



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: good on you?



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Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, you know i'll throw out an acronym, and I need to credit the person who told me, and that's



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Stephanie Stuckey: Ted right. Who's on the Stuckies board, and he's also a co-owner. I have 2 partners so I have my main business partners, president. He and I jointly run the company, and then we have



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Stephanie Stuckey: a third investor, Ted right, who's a marketing professional? He wrote a book called Fiz, which is about word of mouth marketing, and Ted taught me, If you want to share a story



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Stephanie Stuckey: that is going to be shared by others. It has to have 3 things. It has to have air.



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Stephanie Stuckey: authentic, interesting, and relevant. So every time you're telling a story.



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Stephanie Stuckey: ask yourself, is it authentic, right? And it doesn't authentic, does not mean. Every little detail has to be accurate, because, by gosh, i'd be pretty boring sometimes. If you go through these my new details. So it's storytelling. Tell a story



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Stephanie Stuckey: then interesting it is.



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Stephanie Stuckey: You gotta post stuff that people are gonna want to read. Give a hook. Give a



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Stephanie Stuckey: engaging



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Stephanie Stuckey: title to your post, and then



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Stephanie Stuckey: it's got to be relevant to not Everything's gonna be relevant to everyone. So think who's your audience. Right. My audience is going to be 2 people, really. I mean, it was anyone who loves a road trip because that's our brand. So we talk about the road trip. But what we're really trying to do is sell product. But that's boring. So talk about road trip.



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Stephanie Stuckey: But my audience.



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Stephanie Stuckey: our retailers who can sell our product or customers direct to customers. We're gonna buy our product online, or even better, because we can get more money out of them.



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Stephanie Stuckey: People who have. Oh. just decision making authority and corporations. They want to use us for their corporate gift program because we will sell you lots of techies, gift tense.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: love it



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So you! You've just done a few things for our listeners today.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: One, your grandfather's



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: 3 lessons are fabulous, and everybody should make sure that they have that inside of their their company, you know, if you're not doing strategic planning, strategic planning, isn't an event to process right you have. We don't know what the future is going to do, or if a competitor comes in or the government changes the rules.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, no one. It happens this is interest rates right just a little quickly, just maybe a little quickly, right?



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So you've got to be ready for all of these things.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: The other thing you know, your air, and your partner that shared that was fabulous. When you're talking about creating social media posts. That's huge. But the other thing you just hit on. You know your core customer inside now already.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yes, yeah. And I think it's rare that people know their core customer at that level in our set and in our company. Our core customers name is curious, George.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: so we named. We named them, and



00:19:52.460 --> 00:20:10.690

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: your George is the you know, the the owner of a construction company or the owner, mostly construction company, but usually it's a family owned business, and but they they know what to do when they get it done, and they get their hands dirty, and they're okay, doing that. But they're still curious to learn more, and that's our



00:20:10.690 --> 00:20:16.080

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: or woman. But that's how it goes. I love that you know yours so well.



00:20:16.170 --> 00:20:23.160

Stephanie Stuckey: Well, I I do. But I will also say you have to constantly evolve



00:20:23.530 --> 00:20:35.030

Stephanie Stuckey: if you want to remain relevant as a brand, and that is something that I am strategically working on, and Ted and his team have helped me. He's got some millennials on his team.



00:20:35.170 --> 00:20:41.910

Stephanie Stuckey: My One of my business partners Barg is 17 years younger than me, so he's a millennial, which is great.



00:20:42.380 --> 00:20:52.900

Stephanie Stuckey: and they put together a series of themes that I should start talking about. So i'm not just making Brady Bunch references, right? Which



00:20:53.560 --> 00:20:59.740

Stephanie Stuckey: Us. Gen. X. Or the Sandwich generation. We're like the tiniest demographic. So like.



00:20:59.780 --> 00:21:01.700

I'm working really hard to



00:21:01.740 --> 00:21:05.330

Stephanie Stuckey: only to start posting about stuff that was in the 19 nineties.



00:21:05.350 --> 00:21:23.280

Stephanie Stuckey: Okay. So last week I did a post on dazed and confused, and lessons learned from that movie when I was on a road trip to Austin, Texas, which is where the movie was filmed. So you'll see more and more that i'm trying to reach out, and I get really excited when I see people comment who are in the demographic that I am trying to reach.



00:21:23.570 --> 00:21:27.170

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's super cool, very cool.



00:21:28.550 --> 00:21:31.090

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Do you have children that



00:21:31.320 --> 00:21:35.430

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: any chance that somebody might join you in the future, or who knows?



00:21:35.680 --> 00:21:39.980

Stephanie Stuckey: Well, I love that you talked about the business that



00:21:40.050 --> 00:21:50.940

Stephanie Stuckey: you know the the nephew who didn't think that they would ever be running. The company was tapped. So I think it's important to cast a wide net.



00:21:51.340 --> 00:21:56.520

Stephanie Stuckey: Family business can be defined, in my opinion broadly.



00:21:56.660 --> 00:22:05.180

Stephanie Stuckey: My grandfather had 7 grandchildren. They were now great grandchildren, great great grandchildren.



00:22:05.680 --> 00:22:06.720

Stephanie Stuckey: so



00:22:06.920 --> 00:22:15.950

Stephanie Stuckey: some of them could be options. My niece is pregnant. I'm thinking, okay, that could be the next CEO not even born yet.



00:22:16.140 --> 00:22:22.120

Stephanie Stuckey: So i'm open to nephews and cousins. I think that's



00:22:22.400 --> 00:22:28.570

Stephanie Stuckey: important, because that direct line isn't always going to be the one, and i'm not saying my kids wouldn't be but



00:22:28.650 --> 00:22:39.490

Stephanie Stuckey: right now. My daughter wants to be a journalist or a filmmaker, and my son's interested in writing, and neither one of them has an interest. But there's still



00:22:39.580 --> 00:22:47.120

Stephanie Stuckey: 20 and 17, so they got a while. But I just say, keep an open mind about family, and then the last thing is, i'd say.



00:22:47.390 --> 00:23:00.540

Stephanie Stuckey: just because they're they. They may own part of the company. My kids will definitely inherit what I make when I die, so they'll own it, but that doesn't mean they run it



00:23:00.730 --> 00:23:04.700

Stephanie Stuckey: very different. Ownership versus management and



00:23:05.080 --> 00:23:10.680

Stephanie Stuckey: running. Not Everyone should be running a company just because they have the last name.



00:23:10.990 --> 00:23:15.580

Stephanie Stuckey: or they have a. It's my dad says they won the Philopian Tube lottery.



00:23:16.810 --> 00:23:18.890

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It doesn't mean they are the best qualified.



00:23:18.920 --> 00:23:19.610

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yup



00:23:19.880 --> 00:23:22.210

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and



00:23:22.300 --> 00:23:22.980

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: right



00:23:23.370 --> 00:23:33.950

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: my! I had. I wanted nothing to do with becoming a wealth, advisor and coaching family businesses. I work for Xerox, and I loved it, and



00:23:34.020 --> 00:23:46.680

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: was given opportunity and challenges. and it was out of the blue. My dad and I had a conversation when I was frustrated. Talk about this just a little bit once. You don't talk to. You know



00:23:47.110 --> 00:23:48.940

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: his manager at the time.



00:23:49.520 --> 00:23:53.810

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And man, I just was like you mean



00:23:54.160 --> 00:24:02.100

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you get paid well for doing really good things and helping people instead of just selling a product. He's like great



00:24:02.360 --> 00:24:05.410

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: all right, hook line and sink around then and



00:24:05.620 --> 00:24:21.980

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and and today my business doesn't look. It looks very little like my father's. and that's okay. I've learned to embrace that. It was really hard for him to see me change, and you know not be as much the wealth manager. But being the family coach and the business coach.



00:24:22.040 --> 00:24:24.080

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know, as we do things.



00:24:24.210 --> 00:24:28.380

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And but today he looks back and says you have to be. You gotta be you.



00:24:28.620 --> 00:24:37.450

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So I think you know why not, I think, is really important, and that just remind me to think about how wide my net could be



00:24:37.700 --> 00:24:41.980

Stephanie Stuckey: I? That's I needed that reminder. So thank you.



00:24:42.020 --> 00:24:50.600

Stephanie Stuckey: You're welcome with Great that your father also said you can run the company the way you want to, and that is the dynamic that I see



00:24:50.850 --> 00:24:52.030

Stephanie Stuckey: where



00:24:53.020 --> 00:25:00.670

Stephanie Stuckey: it's really hard to like. Oh, there's rains, so i'm already thinking when it comes time for me to let go. I need to let go.



00:25:00.720 --> 00:25:04.550

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Let the next person run it the next generation.



00:25:04.770 --> 00:25:06.820

Stephanie Stuckey: They need to have that latitude



00:25:08.300 --> 00:25:10.400

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and it because they can't be you.



00:25:11.070 --> 00:25:18.430

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I mean you have this way of doing things that you embrace, and you know, take a company, I mean



00:25:18.550 --> 00:25:29.510

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: again. I just congratulations to you where you were to where you are today. The thing is like, I said earlier, the lessons for my grandfather that you you do have to respect some of the constants.



00:25:30.020 --> 00:25:38.100

Stephanie Stuckey: I like to say I respect the past, but I don't live in it, but there are certain things that should be unchangeable about your brand right like we have a commitment to



00:25:38.190 --> 00:25:42.370

Stephanie Stuckey: making the best quality for con snacks and candies anywhere like



00:25:42.430 --> 00:25:50.580

Stephanie Stuckey: the next generation needs to be very mindful of that. and we have a commitment to our purpose of treating people



00:25:50.850 --> 00:25:57.520

Stephanie Stuckey: as friends with hospital hospitality and respect. So some of these things, like really need to be unchanging, but



00:25:57.780 --> 00:26:01.330

Stephanie Stuckey: a lot of the stylistic. You gotta. You gotta be willing to let go.



00:26:01.380 --> 00:26:15.520

Stephanie Stuckey: But you want someone who really wants to do the job. You don't want anyone who doesn't have obligation because I really wanted Stackies. I love to my grandfather, and I saw what it happened to his brand, and I was excited and passionate about



00:26:15.590 --> 00:26:17.670

Stephanie Stuckey: the opportunity to bring that back.



00:26:17.830 --> 00:26:22.200

Stephanie Stuckey: And there are days when I just think what the heck am I doing right.



00:26:22.520 --> 00:26:37.140

Stephanie Stuckey: So even being super passionate and just so excited like this is what I was put on this earth to do. You have days when you just wanna scream and a pillow, so I can only imagine, if you take it on as an obligation.



00:26:37.160 --> 00:26:38.360

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah.



00:26:38.400 --> 00:26:40.430

Stephanie Stuckey: what do those hard times look like?



00:26:41.450 --> 00:26:46.010

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I I can take it on if it's gifted to you.



00:26:46.300 --> 00:26:48.850

Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, you don't appreciate it.



00:26:48.940 --> 00:26:58.750

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You did a wonderful thing where you invested in it, and to bring to revive your grandfather's legacy and bring that brand back up to



00:26:59.290 --> 00:27:07.870

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: out of the minds of what what people you know. Think some of the stuckies are today like you mentioned that the unthinkable businesses that your grandfather be.



00:27:07.930 --> 00:27:19.390

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know, having a heart attack over, and your we I never would ever think of Stuckies as that, because I know who you are. I know what you've done with it. I know what you stand for.



00:27:19.450 --> 00:27:20.270

Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah.



00:27:21.240 --> 00:27:36.270

Stephanie Stuckey: it's no sense of entitlement for sure we have to buy it, and I bought, and I bought my father's. You know half of it, about half of them. I just wanted the family owned businesses, the executives, and, you know, retirees. Somebody else bought.



00:27:36.290 --> 00:27:37.710

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: but worked out really Well.



00:27:37.780 --> 00:27:43.430

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I've always I love the family side of things



00:27:43.720 --> 00:27:46.140

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: because it's way, messier.



00:27:46.290 --> 00:27:59.590

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and I was messy. I didn't I did. Yeah, and I and for me that's more fun to deal with than you know. The 8 to 5 executive retiree kind of stuff.



00:28:02.610 --> 00:28:05.080

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What's tough about running the business for you today?



00:28:07.080 --> 00:28:08.450

Stephanie Stuckey: The people side.



00:28:09.150 --> 00:28:18.740

Stephanie Stuckey: How so? I would say I easily spend, and I think this is typical of Ceos. I spend probably 40% of my time



00:28:18.940 --> 00:28:20.860

Stephanie Stuckey: on managing people.



00:28:21.630 --> 00:28:23.670

Stephanie Stuckey: It was relationships.



00:28:24.050 --> 00:28:26.300

Stephanie Stuckey: our we have a unique challenge



00:28:26.650 --> 00:28:33.540

Stephanie Stuckey: and a unique challenge in that we bought. Not only did I buy Stuckies, but then I merged my company



00:28:33.710 --> 00:28:52.310

Stephanie Stuckey: with a business partner, and he had a company, and the most important thing that's really making this work is. I have such respect for my my main business partner, who runs a company with me. We just jo we're equal. I'm CEO, he's present, and some structure ceos over present, but with us it's it's equal. The titles could almost be interchangeable.



00:28:52.620 --> 00:28:58.170

Stephanie Stuckey: so he and I are very much aligned. Our skill sets are compatible, but then the 2 of us



00:28:58.400 --> 00:28:59.550

Stephanie Stuckey: but



00:29:00.000 --> 00:29:07.780

Stephanie Stuckey: a candy plant that was already in operation. They've been around since 1,935, and had only had 2 owners during that



00:29:08.410 --> 00:29:10.480

Stephanie Stuckey: 80 plus your history.



00:29:10.580 --> 00:29:14.330

Stephanie Stuckey: So, coming in with that culture, and



00:29:14.840 --> 00:29:22.780

Stephanie Stuckey: merging it with our culture what they don't tell you when you learn about mergers and acquisitions, even though I didn't get a business school.



00:29:22.980 --> 00:29:35.390

Stephanie Stuckey: I read up on it a lot, and I watched a lot of webinars. So I taught myself about mergers and acquisitions, and I took business law law school. So in any event, they they, the financials, are just the beginning.



00:29:37.060 --> 00:29:40.630

Stephanie Stuckey: It's merging the people and the cultures, and



00:29:40.930 --> 00:29:46.130

Stephanie Stuckey: how you conduct meetings, and how you put in



00:29:46.160 --> 00:29:58.610

Stephanie Stuckey: place processes and structure and or charts, and we had an organization that just ran things differently. It's not right or wrong, but it was different, and we have a different way of growing



00:29:58.780 --> 00:30:01.530

Stephanie Stuckey: the stockies business. And so it's.



00:30:02.330 --> 00:30:10.620

Stephanie Stuckey: It's the whole good to Great right. Jim Collins book, which I've read 5 times I live by it. You you want the right people



00:30:10.960 --> 00:30:15.000

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: on the bus and the right seeds doing the right things.



00:30:15.290 --> 00:30:30.990

Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, doing the right things all right. So I need to read it enough. There's 3 right people, right seats doing the right task. So we're working on that piece right now, and change is not easy.



00:30:32.030 --> 00:30:45.590

Stephanie Stuckey: That's the hardest part. It's just putting as you scale right, because we started when I bought the company. We had 9 employees, and 3 years later we have 90. Yeah, so we can't do these kind of Lucy



00:30:45.800 --> 00:30:48.310

Stephanie Stuckey: check in like I did before.



00:30:48.500 --> 00:31:04.610

Stephanie Stuckey: Now we've got to have agenda and minutes, and follow up and action items and Ops team and a finance team an Hr. Team, and you know you got it. You got your strategic plan, and you got your retreat. It's.



00:31:05.680 --> 00:31:10.130

Stephanie Stuckey: And when you're used to not doing that. And then all of a sudden it's like we're doing this.



00:31:11.410 --> 00:31:13.990

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, it's a very change



00:31:14.130 --> 00:31:18.110

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: cultural change, and some people can't make that shift.



00:31:18.120 --> 00:31:25.360

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And and one of the things that we teach is that that's okay. It's hard.



00:31:25.380 --> 00:31:26.690

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: but it's okay.



00:31:26.750 --> 00:31:35.680

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's not getting a divorce. You know one of the places I love. This idea. Somebody created a alumni



00:31:35.810 --> 00:31:37.270

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: for the company.



00:31:37.560 --> 00:31:53.910

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So what they said is, we will honor everybody that's here just because you're leaving. We want you, you know we want. We have a ABC. Corporation, alumni, and we want you to know that we love you, and we're so proud of you going out and doing what you what you're doing.



00:31:53.910 --> 00:32:01.450

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and that way it does 2 things. One. It always leaves the door open. If you know, as long as those things can be there but 2.



00:32:01.540 --> 00:32:05.250

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: We understand that there's a season for everything right, and



00:32:05.300 --> 00:32:08.330

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: what got you here might not get you there?



00:32:08.360 --> 00:32:09.520

Stephanie Stuckey: Exactly.



00:32:10.020 --> 00:32:20.440

Stephanie Stuckey: Well, the hard part it's okay. If people leave voluntarily, I think Well, that's hard on the company. But then terminating people is hard to sometimes it's for the best, but it's not easy.



00:32:21.140 --> 00:32:29.030

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: We we just did 72 interviews with different ceos



00:32:29.160 --> 00:32:47.900

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and the number one and number 2. Priority was growing revenue and profit. Number 2 was attracting and retaining employees was their key priority. When you look at when we talk to them about their fears, when we, you know, with their frustrations what was going on for them. They're like it was Everything was always about people.



00:32:48.090 --> 00:32:49.020

Stephanie Stuckey: So



00:32:49.050 --> 00:32:55.230

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: what I you know, I think as i'm. I'm writing a white paper based on the research that we did.



00:32:55.250 --> 00:33:10.150

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and my the tone of it is that you know now more than ever before Every single CEO and President has to understand they are not in the business of the Widgets that you do, or the services that you do. You're in the people business



00:33:10.200 --> 00:33:11.440

Stephanie Stuckey: absolutely.



00:33:11.550 --> 00:33:16.310

Stephanie Stuckey: And so that's it's wrapping your head around that that side of it.



00:33:16.610 --> 00:33:19.240

Stephanie Stuckey: And then being able to delegate.



00:33:20.540 --> 00:33:21.280

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah.



00:33:21.370 --> 00:33:26.070

Stephanie Stuckey: put good people in. and then delegate.



00:33:28.110 --> 00:33:31.310

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What are you doing when you're merging



00:33:32.260 --> 00:33:45.110

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: organizations with people? How are you sharing and hoping that they catch your vision? What are the what are some of the things that you do to share your vision with, to build the culture that you have at Stuckies today?



00:33:45.770 --> 00:33:48.160

Stephanie Stuckey: So it's a evolving process



00:33:49.810 --> 00:33:57.140

Stephanie Stuckey: for us since we bought a company that had been around since 1,935, and had a strong sense of history already.



00:33:57.520 --> 00:34:03.710

Stephanie Stuckey: I did not want to come in there, saying, Well, Stuckies is in town, and we own the place and



00:34:04.280 --> 00:34:14.900

Stephanie Stuckey: RAM our vision and our company history down their throat. So it's been 2 years since we bought a company, and it's still a process so



00:34:15.929 --> 00:34:30.230

Stephanie Stuckey: initially. It was just listening, and we're still listening. and we just hired a new person whose job in part will be related to culture and employee engagement. And so I've got



00:34:30.360 --> 00:34:34.080

Stephanie Stuckey: him conducting interviews with the team members



00:34:34.460 --> 00:34:47.449

Stephanie Stuckey: and getting their honest feedback on how the company can make them feel like they belong and happier, what's gonna what are their issues? So he's got questions that he's going to ask. Each of them is going to be kept anonymous.



00:34:47.460 --> 00:35:00.290

Stephanie Stuckey: and then we're going to take that, and that will help inform how we grow the culture. and so I think it's not just my vision. What's our share vision?



00:35:00.550 --> 00:35:05.870

Stephanie Stuckey: It's to get that buy in, and certainly I have a sense of what we where we need to take the company.



00:35:06.200 --> 00:35:18.270

Stephanie Stuckey: But you can't take it unless you've got people who are part of that journey with you. So it's a process. I think it's listening first and foremost. and then knowing that



00:35:18.430 --> 00:35:22.150

Stephanie Stuckey: their input is what's going to drive



00:35:22.760 --> 00:35:31.970

Stephanie Stuckey: what we're putting for. So we're we're still in the process. I mean, of course, we have a strategic plan, and we have a vision saving a mission statement. All the stuff that's required for your



00:35:32.600 --> 00:35:41.260

Stephanie Stuckey: financing. and you know we have a strategic plan. But it as we grow, and we've got a bigger team



00:35:41.470 --> 00:35:48.590

Stephanie Stuckey: we've got to get buy in on that and buy in starts with listening. So we're going to listen, and then we're going to start



00:35:48.880 --> 00:35:59.910

Stephanie Stuckey: evolving from there. We we've got lots of big plans. Ask me in a year, because I think our culture is going to really start taking off after we start, finish doing our listening session rounds.



00:36:00.540 --> 00:36:20.370

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: The fact that you understand that culture is the foundation of your growth is fabulous. We, I'd like to look at it as the culture is the foundation of the house that you build, or the business that you build the 2 walls are, you know, looking at it from the



00:36:20.370 --> 00:36:38.170

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: cohesiveness I is the team honest with each other? Do they trust each other? And then it's like, how do we hire? And how do we score? You know what the score cards for people and whatnot. And when you have those walls done, strategy and execution kind of just starts coming together for you faster and



00:36:38.500 --> 00:36:57.990

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: more furious. So good for you. I really love that you I mean You've You've dug into all of the things you You are a textbook lesson, and you know, good to great. And you know Patrick Lindsey on his 5 d functions of the team you're talking about all of the things that need to be there.



00:36:57.990 --> 00:37:01.170

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I'll share with you a a quick story.



00:37:01.490 --> 00:37:19.760

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: The construction companies decided that you know the their their drawings and the the cab cam people and all the people that did all this stuff they were. They were duplicating the work they were. They were friendly competitors in in different businesses, but they were there, the



00:37:19.760 --> 00:37:24.660

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: engineering staff, and that would do all the design work. There was a lot of overlap.



00:37:24.760 --> 00:37:36.540

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and so they took those 2 departments and made their own company out of it. And now you've got the you've got the you know the the culture of one company clashing



00:37:36.610 --> 00:37:49.330

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: with the culture of the other company, and it was going on, and the the Ceos were both frustrated because it was not going anywhere close to the way that they thought, and their business coach said.



00:37:49.580 --> 00:38:04.400

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Throw away both of your cultures and go in. Pull your leadership team together from the group that's there, and they have them create the culture of what the future is going to be. And I thought that was pretty interesting to to think about that.



00:38:04.450 --> 00:38:11.240

Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, thanks for sharing that that's relevant to what we're trying to create and make sure it's something that everyone is.



00:38:13.290 --> 00:38:19.330

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, I I I share that with people all the time. You can create all vision you want on the planet.



00:38:19.560 --> 00:38:27.060

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: But if if it's i'm telling you what we're gonna do, it's not the same as let's link arms and do this together.



00:38:27.250 --> 00:38:31.910

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know a book I don't know if you've read the book. Extreme ownership.



00:38:32.470 --> 00:38:48.950

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I I put it down here. Put it on your list. What's neat about it, is, you know. So we like 5 dysfunctions of the team memory and phrase that we love 5 dysfunction with the team. We're working on a leadership team, building. All the things that are necessary



00:38:49.120 --> 00:39:04.050

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: When I talk about this function, though, let me just tell you construction. Get you know, people, men or women, if you're in the construction industry like we don't want to talk about dysfunction, but if we talk about extreme ownership, and they how maybe seals would do it. They're all up for that. And



00:39:04.050 --> 00:39:19.050

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and I think there's complimentary lessons between those 2 books. You know whether it's Patrick once he only 5 is functions or leaf or yeah, leaf bad. And I forget the other Jack of Willing's book extremes really great stuff in there.



00:39:19.060 --> 00:39:29.730

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, when you're going through what you're going through right now it'll help you to build. You know the those lessons will help you to build your team and make it stronger.



00:39:32.060 --> 00:39:32.890

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: All right.



00:39:33.520 --> 00:39:40.890

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What? Our take business off the table for a second. Your your favorite family traditions.



00:39:42.630 --> 00:39:53.800

Stephanie Stuckey: Well, i'm not just like I said earlier I sincerely i'm a road tripper I road, tripping my family's always road tracked. My father is 87, and



00:39:53.810 --> 00:40:08.760

Stephanie Stuckey: whenever i'm on the road i'll say what you know what we're already on 95 it's, like, what exit, and it's kind of like seeing if I can stump him. And i'll say, okay, exit 289 he's like, oh, there's a vp at the next mile marker like he knows



00:40:08.870 --> 00:40:11.270

Stephanie Stuckey: mile markers he knows, exits.



00:40:11.390 --> 00:40:16.210

Stephanie Stuckey: We joke that in our family there's stucky miles, which means



00:40:16.260 --> 00:40:21.750

Stephanie Stuckey: taking a 600 mile road trip is nothing, because the steady miles we're used to



00:40:21.910 --> 00:40:28.380

Stephanie Stuckey: driving and saying distances, because that's how we roll literally. So we've always road tripped.



00:40:28.990 --> 00:40:33.200

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and I did as a kid with my mom and dad.



00:40:33.410 --> 00:40:53.820

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and and there was 4 of us. Matter of fact, my father couldn't go on one trip, so we're going out to Minnesota. and I did the navigating at like 14 years old, reading the maps, making sure, and we had some nasty weather, and that way it was some of the best memories growing up. Were those road trips



00:40:53.820 --> 00:41:00.840

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: as short or long as they were. You're absolutely right, and I remember one road trip with just my father.



00:41:00.840 --> 00:41:16.630

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and so we're up north, so we didn't have the benefit of stuckies, you know, in in the and the road trips. But the but you to his credit. When we were going on one road trip he went into the store and just came out with boat loads.



00:41:16.630 --> 00:41:29.670

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: candy, and and and and just, you know, road trip food, and if if if there was stuck there we would have eaten it out, you know 100 so



00:41:29.880 --> 00:41:31.010

Stephanie Stuckey: awesome.



00:41:31.200 --> 00:41:34.630

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: We, my my wife and I, have



00:41:35.180 --> 00:41:36.560

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: 7 kids.



00:41:36.800 --> 00:41:48.350

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: The road tripping with 7 kids was. We tried that once to Florida, and we swear that was probably not going to happen. Yeah, there are 5 in my family, so I can. I can relate.



00:41:48.460 --> 00:41:49.230

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah.



00:41:49.630 --> 00:41:53.820

Stephanie Stuckey: someone always had to get the bathroom



00:41:53.920 --> 00:41:55.240

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: 100%.



00:41:55.600 --> 00:42:05.290

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So when you look at your goals for the future and what you're building and what you're creating, what would you say? Are your top 3 priorities?



00:42:05.660 --> 00:42:13.700

Stephanie Stuckey: Well, we've got a very practical goal is we want to grow this company to be 100 millionand profit, I mean, i'm sorry in sales 100 million



00:42:13.810 --> 00:42:22.930

Stephanie Stuckey: growth sales. and I think it's doable. I want to do that. By the time I retire I want to retire when we hit 100 years old, which will be in 2,037.



00:42:23.020 --> 00:42:31.590

Stephanie Stuckey: Maybe we'll even reach it before then. So this is along with that goal. Is we want to be the Go to the Con Snack brand



00:42:32.540 --> 00:42:44.430

Stephanie Stuckey: anywhere. If you go on a snack, not a you'll see brands for peanuts, cashews, Almas pistachios, macadamia nut where's the pecan brand.



00:42:45.260 --> 00:42:51.540

Stephanie Stuckey: There isn't one right? And yet it is the only snack nut that is native



00:42:51.660 --> 00:42:59.330

Stephanie Stuckey: to North America and Georgia where we are based is the number one State for con production.



00:43:00.840 --> 00:43:07.060

Stephanie Stuckey: So we we just it's just a natural. Our brand is associated with. We're in the



00:43:07.470 --> 00:43:24.620

Stephanie Stuckey: main area in the world where you can find pocons. And so we just think it's a it's a natural for us, and so that that's our goal. We want to grow. The Con is the Snack brand, and we want us to be the brand that people associate just like you might associate planners with peanuts, right?



00:43:24.660 --> 00:43:30.090

Stephanie Stuckey: And then, third, I think. Just continue to grow with the sense of purpose.



00:43:31.230 --> 00:43:33.640

Stephanie Stuckey: treating everyone with respect along the way.



00:43:34.160 --> 00:43:36.410

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Nice love it



00:43:36.520 --> 00:43:54.350

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I will share we've had. We have not had planters on our show, but we have had hubs on our show, and they would They're They're working. I don't know if you're familiar with Hubs peanuts. They're oh, family brand, They they they have the



00:43:55.630 --> 00:44:02.800

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: every the the quality of a hubs peanut is different than everybody else. So you'll have to check them out. Okay.



00:44:02.850 --> 00:44:05.310

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: but they are the



00:44:05.420 --> 00:44:14.020

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I don't. The best peanut is what they're going after. Maybe not the most well known, but they want to have the best peanut snacks out there.



00:44:14.110 --> 00:44:19.550

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and i'll share this with you only because you you just were saying those things. So



00:44:19.840 --> 00:44:28.410

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: somebody sent a 10 of hubs peanuts to Danny Wegman, Wegman's Food



00:44:28.430 --> 00:44:29.070

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yup!



00:44:29.150 --> 00:44:48.960

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And it was that that happened. And when that happened, Danny's like those are our peanuts. I don't want anything I love it. Oh, that's a great story, so I I would. I would implore you to send a 10 of your favorite Pcons snacks to Danny Wagman, and let me know if that works out for you.



00:44:48.960 --> 00:44:54.570

Stephanie Stuckey: I will. I will tell you right now. Our biggest challenge is keeping up with demand.



00:44:54.640 --> 00:45:04.910

Stephanie Stuckey: Our we are just. We are dealing with a good problem, but but we don't have the production capacity. So right now I I've I've had put the breaks



00:45:05.090 --> 00:45:06.450

Stephanie Stuckey: on sales



00:45:07.000 --> 00:45:07.560




00:45:07.750 --> 00:45:22.830

Stephanie Stuckey: our production team is is saying, please, we can't. We can't manage it. And so we've got a. P. We've got a sales pipeline, so when businesses reach out to us that they want to carry our product. Now. A small business we can supply. If you've got like a mom and pop store, by all means. But



00:45:22.940 --> 00:45:41.160

Stephanie Stuckey: the large distributors, like Publix is on our list, Kroger. We can't even make that pitch, because if they say yes, we're not ready. So we are in some chains. We're in food. Lion ingalls. Voila in Florida.



00:45:41.720 --> 00:45:45.110

Stephanie Stuckey: all right. So if you go to the Wawas in Florida.



00:45:45.620 --> 00:45:47.950

Stephanie Stuckey: the maple pecan snacks



00:45:47.990 --> 00:45:51.250

Stephanie Stuckey: in there that we've just got one skew.



00:45:51.600 --> 00:45:56.030

Stephanie Stuckey: but we're in. We're in, so we we're growing



00:45:56.560 --> 00:46:02.650

Stephanie Stuckey: consistent with our capacity right now. But when we are in a position where



00:46:03.040 --> 00:46:04.870

Stephanie Stuckey: you know. Wegman said, Yes.



00:46:05.000 --> 00:46:08.210

Stephanie Stuckey: Danny Wagner said. We want to bring you in. I could fulfill.



00:46:08.660 --> 00:46:23.390

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it. I'd be ready. I think we. I don't normally do this on the show, but sometimes I think it's worth. I think you and hub's peanuts should talk about You know how they who knows? You might get something out of that.



00:46:23.410 --> 00:46:31.590

Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, yeah, I mean, right now, like I said, it's just trying. And we're already in a bunch of distributor channels, and the distributors are asking us for more product. So



00:46:31.670 --> 00:46:43.360

Stephanie Stuckey: Core, Marcus Star, Ht. Hackney. The planes, a lot of the distributors folks in the food business would know it's just getting the production ramped up.



00:46:43.640 --> 00:46:51.190

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What you're describing, really well, and it just want to paint this picture for people is what we call the key key function flow map.



00:46:51.480 --> 00:47:05.330

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So when you go through and it's like I've got marketing and got sales, I got my operations and I got finance. Right? Those are the key functions of every company for the most part, and the person that's in charge of each of those areas needs to say I, my red, yellow or green.



00:47:05.680 --> 00:47:09.810

Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, yeah, we know what you so operation.



00:47:09.810 --> 00:47:28.150

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: We're yellow right now and or red. If you, if you throw more sales at us. We're gonna go red, yellow. You're gonna break us. We gotta get back to Green so we can handle more. Because if you turn on those other operations, and we keep that picture in front of our. You know our our clients that we we code. We need to know what's going on.



00:47:28.150 --> 00:47:43.420

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And then inside of each of those operations there are some operations so that you can dig in to say, okay, what's going on? Operations that that'll get us there what's going inside of marketing that's happening. So I love that you described. We took the



00:47:43.420 --> 00:47:49.220

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know we put the breaks on rather, so that we don't break that may, you know. Key function within the business.



00:47:49.610 --> 00:48:09.330

Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah. And being focused on execution, you know what's what is it going to take to get us to where we need to be. And that's right. Now. Our energies are focused on brand building, so we'll continue to get the brand and keep the brand out there, but it's also on the capacity building. So we're we're putting the financing together. We got a new market tax credit deal that should close in



00:48:09.660 --> 00:48:17.190

Stephanie Stuckey: a week to 2 weeks. We're finalizing that we've got all the paperwork approved, and we've got a couple of agreements we still got to complete, but



00:48:17.260 --> 00:48:25.740

Stephanie Stuckey: and then we're looking at a Usda loan through a Mars Bank that should close in July. And so, once all the financing comes in. Then we'll have the



00:48:26.270 --> 00:48:31.940

Stephanie Stuckey: financial capacity to complete our expansion. So that's what we're working on.



00:48:32.220 --> 00:48:39.500

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it. You mentioned good to Great earlier today. I mentioned extreme ownership.



00:48:40.230 --> 00:48:56.650

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: If you are talking to somebody else that's either new to the CEO Seat or Presidency, or they're just looking to get re-energized around where they're going. What are some of your You know. What are some of the books that you've read, that you you don't miss these books.



00:48:57.600 --> 00:49:04.650

Stephanie Stuckey: Yeah, there's 2 I've read recently. Well, a couple i'll I'll do 3. I loved



00:49:04.750 --> 00:49:06.550

Stephanie Stuckey: masters of scale.



00:49:06.870 --> 00:49:07.530

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Hmm.



00:49:08.040 --> 00:49:18.540

Stephanie Stuckey: By the gosh! His name just gave me the Netflix founder, and it's all about how you how you scale your brand right?



00:49:19.040 --> 00:49:21.250

Stephanie Stuckey: And then Phil Night.



00:49:21.270 --> 00:49:24.910

Stephanie Stuckey: shoe dog, the the Nike story



00:49:25.440 --> 00:49:26.870

Stephanie Stuckey: immensely



00:49:26.910 --> 00:49:36.020

Stephanie Stuckey: helpful. He! He! He gets very philosophical in it, and I like that aspect of it. Then I just finished reading



00:49:36.070 --> 00:49:38.260

Stephanie Stuckey: Tony Shea's book.



00:49:38.280 --> 00:49:56.050

Stephanie Stuckey: buying happiness. So he was one of the founders of Zappos, and really sad how his life was cut short. So life kind of ended sadly. But the the story of how he was laser focused on culture is really amazing. So if you're interested at all.



00:49:56.310 --> 00:50:01.970

Stephanie Stuckey: And culture Tony Shay's books. Amazing how they hire for



00:50:02.140 --> 00:50:07.380

Stephanie Stuckey: culture. Okay, Reed Hoffman. It came to me. Masters of scale, Reed Hoffman.



00:50:07.830 --> 00:50:22.190

Stephanie Stuckey: Anyone looking to grow from the start up to the scale Up, read read Hoffman, and it's not just Netflix, like the guys phenomenally successful on investing in companies. Just a an incredible leader followed him on Linkedin and



00:50:22.600 --> 00:50:24.740

Stephanie Stuckey: following story. But that book is incredible.



00:50:25.350 --> 00:50:39.460

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Those are 3 fabulous books. Yeah, One of the things that I loved about Tony Shea story is correct me if i'm wrong on this, and I I if i'm mixing my stories.



00:50:39.460 --> 00:50:52.280

Stephanie Stuckey: But he would offer new hires after they've been there. You mind sharing that story? Yeah, so they did. They do a training. I think it's like it was like a 6 week training, and so it



00:50:52.440 --> 00:50:59.770

Stephanie Stuckey: fully immerse them Into what is it like to be part of the Zapos culture, and then they offer them $2,000 to leave.



00:51:01.860 --> 00:51:08.280

Stephanie Stuckey: That's awesome, he said. 99 of the hires turn it down right.



00:51:09.320 --> 00:51:14.420

Stephanie Stuckey: but it's just saying like, Are you really in or not? Are you in or not, so make that decision.



00:51:14.440 --> 00:51:25.130

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And and one way to cement culture in your organization is getting people that by the vision want to be part of the vision and want to be there.



00:51:25.310 --> 00:51:30.790

Stephanie Stuckey: Exactly. They do a lot of listening. He talks about how they come up with with their their



00:51:30.990 --> 00:51:40.450

Stephanie Stuckey: core values and same thing like he started out with this long list. But then he got input from the team, and it wasn't just his core values. It was



00:51:40.600 --> 00:51:50.650

Stephanie Stuckey: the company's core values. And he also says, Don't, just look at what other companies have as their values, and think that that's going to be yours, because everyone's gonna have their own core values



00:51:50.680 --> 00:51:53.220

Stephanie Stuckey: agreed. It's it's a wonderful month.



00:51:53.240 --> 00:51:59.780

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah. And and as you're building them I will throw to you the ones that other people have maybe aspirational values.



00:51:59.930 --> 00:52:13.270

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and those that you not to be disregarded because it might. But some of the times those values are just, you know, table stakes. But what you're talking about is my favorite thing is, are they alive



00:52:13.270 --> 00:52:28.780

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and well in your organization today? So if I couldn't speak, or here, all I had was my site, and I was walking around your organization. Am I going to be able to see your values lived by the people that work with you.



00:52:28.820 --> 00:52:30.890

Stephanie Stuckey: That's great. I love that.



00:52:31.130 --> 00:52:33.700

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Oh, my gosh, I



00:52:33.900 --> 00:52:47.750

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: love our time today, if you're talking and sitting down at a family business event tomorrow. And they just said, Stephanie, if you had one piece of advice for the leadership team here.



00:52:48.340 --> 00:52:49.880

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: what are you leaving them with?



00:52:51.590 --> 00:52:54.600

Stephanie Stuckey: Have a sense of purpose. I think that's the most important thing



00:52:54.990 --> 00:53:03.990

Stephanie Stuckey: I met with Dan Kathy, who recently handed over the reins of Chick-fil-a to his son Andrews. That's the third generation founded by true Kathy.



00:53:04.310 --> 00:53:16.250

Stephanie Stuckey: Dan's father, and I asked Dan all sorts of questions. I just brushed, and you know, Braja questions I threw at him on financing and scaling, and he to stop me and said, what is your sense of purpose?



00:53:16.520 --> 00:53:28.630

Stephanie Stuckey: What you're calling? Why are you doing this and It's it's that whole Simon cynic. What? Your? Why right? Understand? Why are you doing this? And so just tone in on that, and that's what makes a



00:53:28.860 --> 00:53:30.650

Stephanie Stuckey: family business



00:53:31.880 --> 00:53:38.730

Stephanie Stuckey: last. You're not thinking just in terms of quarterly profit reports. You're thinking in terms of generation.



00:53:39.220 --> 00:53:45.240

Stephanie Stuckey: and it's generational value, and that generational value is built with a sense of purpose.



00:53:46.000 --> 00:53:53.940

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I really appreciate that. And you're preaching to the choir. My poor purpose for 3 years was wrong.



00:53:54.630 --> 00:54:08.600

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, don't be afraid to walk away and say, I gotta change it.



00:54:09.040 --> 00:54:11.530

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Absolutely. Yeah, it's got to be the why?



00:54:11.950 --> 00:54:28.160

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So thank you. That was really really important. I don't think enough. Ceos enough. Family businesses understand how important purposes it really between purpose and values they become that filter. So what do I say? Yes, To what do I say? No to as Well, who's on the team



00:54:28.160 --> 00:54:35.210

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and magnetically attracts some, and it magnetically detracts the people that weren't going to fix your culture so powerful.



00:54:35.970 --> 00:54:41.220

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I can't thank you enough for your time. I had a I had a great time.



00:54:41.220 --> 00:54:58.450

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You are textbook, you know the right story, doing the right things, building it around the right, people. You've got a great team surrounding you, and I'm positive that when we have you back on the show before you retire, that you will have hit your goals



00:54:58.450 --> 00:55:14.950

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and and made this all happen. Thank you, Michael. It's been my pleasure. We have a lot to be proud of you and your team, so keep it up. We look forward to watching you on social media and seeing what you're doing out there. Stephanie Stucky from Stuckies.



00:55:15.270 --> 00:55:34.310

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My name's Michael Columbus. This is the family business show in Rochester, New York, and make sure you listen in to other great family business stories. There is no one single right way to do. This family business is messy. We love it. Have a great day, everybody.



00:55:34.460 --> 00:55:35.400

Stephanie Stuckey: Thank you.

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