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SILVER SPRING, Md. -- Although Stuckey's got its start when founder W.S. Stuckey began selling pecans and candies on Georgia roadsides during the Great Depression, most convenience store operators are more familiar with the name as a pioneer of their industry.
In the 1940s and 1950s, before rest stops and interstate convenience stores became commonplace, Stuckey's offered families traveling by automobile a chance to rest, refuel, buy snacks and shop for souvenirs.
The company recently celebrated the opening of its 200th franchise location in a Bristol, Va.-based Zoomerz convenience store.
The milestone represents something of a renaissance for the venerable brand. Stuckey had grown his chain to more than 100 stores by 1964 when the family merged its business with Pet Milk Inc. After W.S. Stuckey died in 1977, Pet Milk was acquired by IC Industries and the Stuckey's operations took on a diminished role.
Bill Stuckey Jr., a former five-term U.S. congressman, with partners Chip Rosencrans and Gregory Griffith, performed the rare feat of a successful buyout in 1985, returning control of the brand to the Stuckey family. The chain still operates more than 40 traditional convenience and souvenir shops of its own, but Stuckey has revitalized the company and primarily by expanded its roadside presence through co-branding efforts.
"We knew Stuckey's would offer our customers unique items that our competitors would not have available in this marketplace," Mitch Robinson, director of retail operations for Zoomerz said in a release, citing the brand's proprietary assortment of candy, falsa blankets, T-shirts and souvenirs.