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Knoke's Chocolates buys National Nut Company

The timing was right. Dave Knoke, owner of Knoke’s Chocolates in Hudson, purchased the National Nut Company in late December. 

Steve and Gayle Lamke moved the National Nut Company to Hudson from Ellsworth in 2012.

Steve started in the business in 1974, packaging and selling holiday tins of assorted nuts. Within two years, he realized with a lot of work he could go fulltime. After retiring from Dayton’s in 1994, his wife Gayle joined him in the business.

“There is not one (a nut business) on every corner,” said Lamke of his decision all those years ago.

It has served the couple well. They source top quality nuts and dried fruit like walnuts, pecans and raisins from sources in California, Georgia and Texas. They also work with importers and exporters to bring in the highest quality of products from around the world. At the peak of their success, they were roasting one million pounds of nuts a year.

Three or four years ago, Dave Knoke first thought about approaching the Lamke’s.

“I was in that expansion mode,” said Knoke, who was preparing to move from his original location on Locust Street in Hudson. “When we first opened, we found them and they delivered, so that was a nice advantage. They have been a supplier ever since.”

Late last summer, he reconsidered the idea. The Lamkes were ready to retire and Knoke’s Chocolates was growing each year. By Dec. 30, an agreement was reached and the sale was final.

The Lamkes will stay on as consultants. Tom Hackworthy, who has been training how to roast the various nuts and seeds, is the plant manager for Knoke.

The company name has been changed to Knoke’s Nuts and More.

For more please read the Jan. 29 print version of the Herald.