Podcast: Interview with Jim Burt of We Are Nuts

In this episode of Family Business Success podcast, Brad Johnston sat down with Jim Burt, of Reclaim Center Inc. & We Are Nuts, headquartered in St. Paul, MN. Part two of their interview is a brief journey of how We Are Nuts was started. Load up for the holiday season!




Twenty-nine years ago this October, my wife and I purchased a nut-packaging machine, a scale, and as many freshly roasted cashews and mixed nuts as we could find. Having no prior clientele to sell to that first season, we focused our efforts on the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (now 3M). Using a typewriter to create a price sheet, I was able to cut and paste (literally) the WE ARE NUTS 'Nut Guy' I had drawn to the header, thereby creating our store’s first ever customer mailing. Copies upon copies later, we sent out the mailing to every 3M building address we could track down. The overwhelmingly positive response we received that first season absolutely floored us. Orders from 3M employees, their family, and their friends flooded in as fast as we could fill them. Needless to say, my wife and I had stumbled onto something bigger than we ever could have dreamed.

During those first few seasons, we hired out our roasting to a larger nut company. Though the quality of the nuts was adequate, we wanted exceptional. Thus began the next chapter.

I spent the off-season researching and learning the art of nut roasting (believe me, there is an art!). By the time October of the following year rolled around we had purchased an entire nut-roasting system and we were capable of controlling the quality of every single nut that left our processing room. As customers came to our warehouse to pick up the nuts they had ordered, a trend began to emerge; people requesting an additional bag of nuts for the ‘road.’ Our small mail-order business needed to evolve. We Are Nuts needed a retail space