LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A southern New Mexico company that has been selling pecan treats for decades has shut its international mail-order business and is closing its two retail shops.
Stahmanns Farms has operated its retail business since the early 1980s and has shops in Mesilla and La Mesa. The recession hit the company’s retails operations hard and they’ve never recovered, manager Eva Valerio told the Las Cruces Sun-News (http://bit.ly/IBovxa). Increased costs are also a factor.
The stores have marked down merchandise and will close in about a month when it is all sold out. The firm is also closing its candy factory, eliminating 29 jobs.
Stahmanns is keeping its 3,200-acre pecan orchard operation and will continue operating its shelling plant and wholesale business. Pecan prices are strong, and most of its business has always been selling shelled raw pecans on the wholesale market, Valerio said.
The family pecan farm runs from south of Mesilla to north of San Miguel and is operated by Sally Stahmann-Solis, who took over from her father, Bill Stahmann, in 2002.
It was originally a cotton farm.
Stahmann-Solis is the third generation to run her family’s pecan business. Her grandfather Deane Stahmann planted the first large pecan orchard in the Mesilla Valley in the 1930s.
The retail operations focused on gift baskets and individual sales of candy-covered pecans or roasted, salted pecans, and other treats. The firm’s website has been taken down.
The downturn in the economy during the past four years has been a millstone on sales, Valerio said.
“The business is not there,” she said. “The bottom line is that, due to the economy, people aren’t spending money on non-necessities and candy is a non-necessity.”
The increasing cost to make candy made it worse.
“The cost of materials has skyrocketed; freight charges have climbed,” Valerio said. “We can’t continue to absorb that.”