Although a pecan company under the "Atwell" name has been located in Wrens since 1935, the present owners did not purchase the company until 1971. At that time, the founder and original owner, Royce Atwell, sold his company, Atwell's Pecan Products, to Hugh Oliver and his business partner. Hugh Oliver hired his son-in-law, Jerry Dowdy, to manage the business. Jerry was then 23 years old and had recently graduated from the University of Georgia. Although Jerry's wife Susan had grown up around the pecan shelling business since her father was co-owner of another shelling plant, Jerry had no experience in this field. His father-in-law's instructions were, "move to Wrens and learn what you need to know to operate and manage a pecan shelling plant." Jerry managed the procurement and shelling operation while Susan assisted the one seasonal office employee.
When Jerry and Susan moved to Wrens, the company handled approximately 450,000 pounds of inshell pecans annually and produced no products other than shelled pecans. In 1981, the couple completed a new shelling plant and cold storage facility located across the highway and in sight of the original 1935 plant. In 1989, the shelling plant was expanded to include Thames Pecan Company, which wholesales pecans and other nuts under the Azalea Brand label. Today, Atwell Pecan Co., Inc. handles between three and five million pounds of pecans annually.
Since the 1930's, Atwell has been a leading provider of pecans. We also offer a variety other fine nuts including cashews, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. Over the last few years, we have begun to expand our market, now offering much more than just pecans. In the fall of 2006, our retail facility, The Orchards, Gourmet Nuts, Candies, and Gifts, LLC, opened. This facility produces an assortment of nut based candies and confections. Contact us for wholesale ordering information, or stop in for a visit to our new retail showroom. We promise an inviting atmosphere while you are shopping for some of the most delectable treats that the South has to offer.
All of the companies are steeped in family tradition, with both of Jerry and Susan's children, Dalton and Sue-anna, working for the companies. The family tradition doesn't stop there, however. When the business was expanded to include making confections, family members of several of Atwell's long-time employees came to work in the candy kitchen. That's why it is so important to us to help you build lasting traditions for your business or family!