Weaver Nut Co. is closing its retail store in Clay Township and its ecommerce platform.
The decision, announced on the company’s blog Monday, follows an August 2021 fire that destroyed its production and distribution warehouse and damaged its retail store.
The retail store is set to close Feb. 14.
Weaver, a family-owned maker and distributor of candy, chocolate, nuts, and bulk foods, has been in the county since the 1970s.
The company said it will focus on its wholesale business with its distribution facility in Lebanon. This spring, it plans to renovate and install equipment at its “state-of-the-art” manufacturing facility in Sinking Spring, Berks County. It is not clear if any of its operations will remain in Lancaster County. A company spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
In August, a fire destroyed its warehouse and damaged its retail store in Clay Township. The company rebuilt its wholesale distribution, manufacturing and retail operations. Its retail store was saved during the fire but required a full remodel, which was completed in November. It reopened Nov. 13 but was limited due to the lack of store fixtures and displays.
“After reviewing our retail operations, it has become evident to us that the future model and direction of our business is not within the retail space,” the company said in its post.” With this realization, we have come to the difficult decision to close our Retail Store division and Consumer Ecommerce platform.”
The company said the decision was bittersweet but will allow it to grow its wholesale and manufacturing division. Among the products Weaver made is the Amish Maid line of jellies, salsas and canned vegetables and fruits, according to its website.
Lancaster County presence since 1970s
Weaver Nut Co. has long been a mainstay of the Lancaster County business landscape, with wholesale and retail sales businesses operating in parallel for decades.
Started in 1975 as Weaver Bulk Foods, the late founder E. Paul Weaver III operated out of his home basement in Myerstown. Weaver and his wife, Miriam, owned and operated seven market stands. After five years, according to a company history on its website, the Weavers sold six of the market stands, retaining the Cloister Shopping Center stand in Ephrata Borough.
In 1982, they moved the wholesale business to a leased space behind the Cloister Shopping Center. A year later, they opened a candy store called Weaver’s Candy and Cookie Outlet, also in the Cloister Shopping Center.
Weaver Nut Co. incorporated in 1987 and expanded by building the four-story Clay Township warehouse in 1990.
With the move the business was renamed to E. Paul Weaver III Nut Co. Inc. In 1990 both the wholesale and retail doubled in size, the website said.
In 1993 the name and logo was changed to Weaver Nut Co. Inc. and wholesales sales were reported to be $14 million annually.
Weaver decided to boost the much smaller retail side of his business by constructing a second store on Columbia Avenue in East Hempfield Township. It included a coffee shop named for his son. That location, though successful, was sold in 2001.
Weaver also started Food Brokers International in 1995, a brokerage company that imports and buys from around the world under the private label.
Weaver Nut Co. distributes 4,000 different items, including nuts, candy, trail mixes and other snacks made locally and made elsewhere.
Eventually, it became one of the country’s largest distributors of nuts, candies and dried fruits with a fleet of trucks that delivers to 22 states.
Weaver died in 2019 at the age of 67. His sons, Edward and Vincent, now oversee the business.