Knoke's Chocolates buys National Nut Company
The timing was right. Dave Knoke, owner of Knoke’s Chocolates, purchased the National Nut Company in late December.
Steve and Gayle Lamke moved the National Nut Company to Hudson from Ellsworth in 2012.
Steve started in the business in 1974 packaging and selling holiday tins of assorted nuts. Within two years he realized with a lot of work he could go fulltime. After retiring from Dayton’s in 1994 his wife Gayle joined him in the business.
“There is not one (a nut business) on every corner,” said Lamke of his decision all those years ago. It has served the couple well. They source top quality nuts and dried fruit like walnuts, pecans and raisins from sources in California, Georgia and Texas. They also work with importers and exporters to bring in the highest quality of products from around the world. At the peak of their success they were roasting one million pounds of nuts a year.
Three or four years ago, Dave Knoke first thought about approaching the Lamkes.
“I was in that expansion mode,” said Knoke, who was preparing to move from his original location on Locust Street. “When we first opened we found them and they delivered so that was a nice advantage. They have been a supplier ever since.”
Late last summer, he reconsidered the idea. The Lamkes were ready to retire and Knoke’s Chocolates was growing each year. By Dec. 30, an agreement was reached and the sale was final.
The Lamkes will stay on as consultants. Tom Hackworthy, who has been training how to roast the various nuts and seeds, is the plant manager for Knoke.
The company name has been changed to Knoke’s Nuts and More.
“One great thing about this is that there are not too many people in the Twin Cities that sell high quality nuts,” said Knoke. “Quality and freshness -- we are going to bank on that.”
Plans are to expand the popcorn line and create new and healthier trail mixes to join the long list of nuts, seeds and mixes already available. The products come in raw-blanched, after that they can be roasted plain or roasted with salt.
In addition to building up a larger wholesale business, Knoke will be remodeling and creating a new retail space at the 2737 Harvey Street (St. Croix Business Park) location. It will also feature his handmade boxed and bagged chocolates.
The acquisition of National Nut Company also, gives Knoke needed space to expand his chocolate making processes.
“Gayle and Steve have 40 years in the business,” said Knoke.”I cannot replace their 40 years of experience which is why we are thrilled to have them on board as consultants.”
The retail shop for Knoke’s Nuts and More will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information or to order products, call (715) 690-2972, ask for Tom or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The new website is presently under construction. A grand opening event will be announced in the future.
Look for a complete update and Knoke’s Chocolates in the Jan. 30 edition of the Hudson Star-Observer.