April 1966, Wellington McDonald and Helen Bean founded the Western Nut Company with a business model that called for acquiring the highest quality of raw nuts in the industry, and then roasting them to perfection. Ownership changed hands in 1983, and the company has remained family-owned ever since. Throughout Western Nut’s 50-plus year history, the hallmarks of quality and freshness remain tenants of the company’s success to this day.
With an SBA504 Loan, Loren Mercer and his business partners —his brothers Lloyd Mercer and Lee Mercer—purchased the existing Western Nut factory store property after Loren had spent 10 years working as an executive for Western Nut.
In addition to the factory store that is open year-round, during the holiday season, the company also opens Holiday Gift Centers (kiosks) in regional malls and have a limited selection of products in many grocery stores.
Holiday sales account for approximately 80% of retail business for the year. Western Nut Company has 17 year-round employees, but adds an additional 120 – 150 during the holidays for seasonal support.
Because there are types of nut that can only grow in certain climates and are region specific, Western Nut buys nuts from both domestic and international growers. The company buys nuts from all over the world. While peanuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans and walnuts are domestically grown; macadamias are purchased from Hawaii, Australia and Africa. Cashews are imported from India, Vietnam and Africa while a variety of other nuts hail from the Amazon region to China.
Western Nut roasts their nuts one batch at a time with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. That means that while some competitors (like the big box stores) may be able to beat Western Nut on cost, they can’t compete with Western Nut on freshness, which ultimately leads to superior taste.
“Mountain West was great to work with – they were always ready and we were never waiting on them as part of the process. I didn’t know a lot about the SBA before working with Mountain West, but we could not have purchased this place without them.” — Loren Mercer, Owner and Chief Executive Officer
To purchase from Western Nut, visit their store front at www.westernut.com