Wiregrass Wonders: Shute Pecan Company
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - For Sandi Hodge, pecans are in her blood.
“When I got involved and really got involved in the community is what made me love what I so,” said Hodge. “Now, I wouldn’t be anywhere else. I wouldn’t do anything else.”
Sandi is the third generation of Shutes to run Shute Pecan here in the Wiregrass.
“We came back in 2005 and so my mom retired in 2011,” said Hodge. “She stayed long enough to get me good and trained.”
Her daughter will soon take over as the fourth.
“She is a fast learner and has just dove right in,” said Hodge.
Shute Pecan has been a staple in the Wiregrass for nearly 100 years. Started back in 1929, it was originally a grocery store, but over time, the Shutes transitioned to the world of pecans.
“1929 comes around and of course the depression so there was a lot of bartering going on,” said Hodge. “He moved the business downtown and started bartering with people that would bring in eggs or milk or whatever for bread. They were swapping things and pecans became part of that process and he just found he really enjoyed that commodity. Eventually, pecans won out and it was Shute Pecan Company.”
The business has grown over the years. A new location along the circle and new ventures. Such as adding more retail items.
“Over the last 15-17 years, I’ve just really listened to what they want and what they’d like to have,” said Hodge. “We’re just able to offer a good variety. There are gifts. We’re close to the hospital. People are able to pick up something to take if they are going on a visit, but we also have the things you need and want all the time, pecans and the honey and the jams and the jellies.”
Despite the growth and changes, Shute Pecan still sticks with its roots.
“Obviously, the raw pecans are the biggest seller,” said Hodge. “The best seller of our flavored is our praline pecans. You can’t beat it. We make those in house so a lot of times people will smell them while they are being cooked and they are so good.”
Shute Pecan was recently named the Bronze winner for the Alabama Small Business of the Year. An award Hodge knows her family would appreciate.
“I can get a little bit emotional when I think about my dad,” said Hodge. “This year when we won the bronze winner for Alabama Small Business, I just thought daddy would be so happy. He would be so proud, and he would be proud that I came back and carried things on and for that, I am very happy to be here.”
Now I know what some of you are thinking, is he pronouncing it correctly? Well, I asked the expert herself.
“Is it pecan or pee-can?”
“We say pecan,” said Hodge. “Both pronunciations are correct if you look it up in the dictionary. We say pecan here, but people call us and ask us for price on pecans and ‘pee-cans’ and all the different variations.”
For nearly a century, the peanut capital of the world has been home to another nut. A nut that makes the Shutes a Wiregrass Wonder.
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