Kar's Nuts in Madison Heights, Michigan: An AAM field coorindator visits the nut house

Posted by mmcmullan on 11/15/2013

The annual Women in Manufacturing Summit was held in Dearborn, Michigan a few weeks ago. And what better way to start the conference off than with a visit to a local manufacturer of nuts, trail mixes, and specialty-dried fruits -- a business that was started by a woman in her kitchen?

Sue Kar founded Kar’s Nuts in her home in 1933, roasting peanuts in her kitchen and selling them at the ballpark. With widespread demand through the years, “Miss Kar” expanded from a modest operation into a full-scale manufacturing facility, before selling it to the Nicolay family that has continued Miss Kar’s business for the last 40 years.

Kar’s Nuts' all-natural line of trail mixes, called Second Nature, or its traditional little purple bag of goodness mixes can be seen on the shelves of convenience and grocery stores across the country. Its Madison Heights, Michigan facility is state-of-the-art, churning out 210 bags of trail mix on each line every minute. That’s 150 million bags of trail mix each year. And with close to 200 employees, half of whom are women, Kar’s Nuts is a success story for aspiring female manufacturing entrepreneurs everywhere.

In a company that began by roasting one ovenful of peanuts at a time to one that roasts over 7,000 pounds of them an hour, women everywhere can be proud of Sue Karpe and her commitment to truly working for peanuts.

Post written by AAM Field Coordinator Rachel Bennett Steury.

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