Stuckey’s Gamble: Stephanie Stuckey Cashes in Her Future to Revive Her Family’s Iconic Roadside Brand


Stuckey’s is a legendary and iconic thread in the fabric of Americana. Founded in Eastman, Georgia in 1937 by WS “Sylvester” Stuckey, Sr., Stuckey’s grew into a roadside empire by the 1970s, with 368 stores in more than 30 states. Part of the charm that made Stuckey’s so iconic were its ubiquitous billboards, more than 4,000 of them, which were dotted along U.S. highways. Stuckey’s was an inextricable part of what became known as “The Great American Road Trip.”

Fast forward to 2019, Stuckey’s was on life support. The brand had gone through hard times, and its former stand-alone locations, still identifiable by their teal blue roofs, were now relics of a bygone era. Some were abandoned and boarded-up; others became home to less-than-savory businesses. By this time the brand had changed hands multiple times and become an unprofitable line item on a bigger company’s balance sheet. But Stuckey’s was about to experience a surprising rebirth.

In 2019, former Georgia legislator Stephanie Stuckey, a practicing attorney at the time, received a fateful phone call. Stuckey’s, the brand started by her grandfather all those years ago, was up for sale. With no experience in running a business, 53-year-old Stephanie defied the odds (and the advice of virtually everyone she spoke to), cashed in her entire life’s savings, and traded her future to buy back and revive the business bearing her family’s name.

Since then, Stephanie has become a legend in the business community. A perfect storm of scrappiness, shrewd business sense and passion, she’s now a bone fide rock star with all the street cred to stage a successful turnaround. And she has the receipts to prove it. Under Stephanie’s leadership, Stuckey’s and its flagship pecan log rolls are back in black.

In this episode, Stephanie discusses growing up with an iconic last name, her career as a legislator and attorney, her decision to lay it all on the line to buy back her family’s business, how she’s rebuilt the brand, and what’s next for Stuckey’s.

Stephanie chronicles her life on the road at her Instagram account, @stuckeystop. Her new book, “UnStuck: Rebirth of an American Icon,” is available at Amazon or wherever you buy books.

If you like this episode, please check out some of our past episodes featuring female entrepreneurs:

Second Act Stories theme music: “Between 1 and 3 am” by Echoes

The Wolf of Late Night: Paul Mecurio’s Journey from Wall Street to Comedy


Paul Mecurio has achieved a level of success in comedy that budding comics only dream of. He’s a writer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; he was a founding writer on The Daily Show, for which he won Emmy and Peabody Awards; he hosted a one-man Off-Broadway show called “Permission to Speak with Paul Mecurio”; he’s hosted shows on Comedy Central and HBO; he had his own comedy special; and he’s a regular opinion contributor on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

But all this success came at an incredibly stressful cost. After graduating Georgetown Law School with high honors, Paul worked as a lawyer on Wall Street at a top-tier international law firm and as an investment banker at Credit Suisse, executing multi-billion-dollar M&A transactions for Fortune 100 companies. He was living the life everybody thinks they want, making a ton of money and enjoying the trappings that kind of success brings.

All the while, Paul was writing jokes and living a double life, working in boardrooms by day and sneaking off to comedy clubs by night to feed an insatiable need to follow his passion for comedy. A chance meeting with Jay Leno was the catalyst for what would become an incredibly gripping, angst-ridden journey filled with self-doubt, torment and tears that had Paul living on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Hold onto your hats; this episode is a roller coaster that will inspire you to chase your dreams.

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Heavy Metal Lawyer: Black Sabbath Bassist Dave “The Beast” Spitz, Esq.


Referring to someone as a rock star usually means they’re excellent at what they do. Dave “The Beast” Spitz is a rock star lawyer in south Florida. Sure, he’s a really good lawyer, but he’s also an actual rock star. Prior to going to law school in 1996, Dave played bass for the legendary band that invented heavy metal: Black Sabbath.

His journey through the music industry also included playing with other well-known bands including Great White, Impellitteri, White Lion and Americade. He even appeared in a movie with Tom Hanks.

Despite all the trappings of rock stardom – recording with music legends, playing in front of sellout crowds around the world, and experiencing musical success at the highest levels – The Beast needed something more out of his career, so he actually declined an opportunity with a band that’s sold millions of albums so he could become a lawyer.

This extended Second Act Stories interview includes plenty stories about The Beast’s music career and his decision to launch his law career, and it paints a vivid picture of the motivation that drives such a surprising life-changing decision.

Check out the official Black Sabbath Dave “The Beast” Spitz page here.