As a member of the PR Team, I do have the chance to work with several different groups in the Company. One of those groups just happens to be Provisioning! Now, what is exciting about that you ask, well…I get the chance to taste energy drinks (we went with Monster), look at all different kinds of coffee cups, taste snacks that might go into our snack trays, and discuss the most important thing of all on board—our peanuts!
It’s such a fun group to work with and you can imagine my excitement when they invited me to tour King Nut, our peanut packaging and distribution company. I couldn’t wait to take the trip (never been to Ohio!) and I was dying to see what goes on at the factory.
Our group of eight headed to Cleveland to meet with the top management of King Nut and get a full tour of the factory. I had never been to a factory before, so I was making tons of mistakes right off the bat. After I put on my tennis shoes (had on open toe shoes!), put all of my jewelry in my purse, and donned a hairnet, I was ready for my tour.
We walked into the first warehouse and all I can say is…WOW! The smell of peanuts was so thick that I think I was coated in thin coating of “eau de peanut.” We were greeted with King Nut employees wearing “I Love SWA” t-shirts!
What a welcome. They were working hard, making sure our Hispanic Heritage peanuts were getting packed and ready to ship (I was very jealous of their tape gun machine—our events would rock with that thing!). It was amazing watching all of those tiny packages being stuffed with peanuts
and sealed in their little orange sacks—mesmerizing in fact!
We ventured on to view the roasting room, the giant one ton bags of peanuts that were waiting to be roasted, and to the shipping area where our Hispanic Heritage peanuts were awaiting their departure to a Southwest city!
It was amazing!
Later, as we were enjoying a Cleveland Indians baseball game with Marty Kanan, King Nut’s President and Chief Executive Officer and his family, I dug a little deeper into the story. King Nut was started by Marty’s dad, Michael Kanan. He was living in Detroit when one of his friends brought him the opportunity to purchase the factory. Mr. Kanan sat his family down and asked what they would think of moving to Cleveland and running a nut company! After the shock wore off and they realized he was serious, they made the move and Mr. Kanan began King Nut.
It was a while before King Nut began servicing airlines, but once they did…the company “took off.” King Nut now employs more than 175 folks and ships out 400-450 million bags of product per year! The company produces 1,600 cases of peanuts a day for Southwest which breaks down to 720,000 bags of peanuts (a DAY) for Southwest. And we’re not their only airline Customer! Whoa!
So think about it next time you crack open your peanut bag on board a Southwest flight. That little fella took a long trip from Solon, Ohio to be in your hands and there’s lots of love and care that go into packaging them just for you!
Thanks to King Nut and thanks to our Provisioning Team! It was an adventure!