Peterson Nut Company was founded in 1927 in Cleveland, Ohio by Charles A. Peterson. He arrived from Minnesota as a commodity trader and started this nut roasting business in downtown Cleveland. He sold the business to Donald Kelling in 1934. In 1937, Mr. Peterson then went on to start the Charles A. Peterson Company where he continued to roast nuts.
King Nut Company was founded in 1937 in Cleveland, Ohio by Earl Balliette and his brother in law/engineer and consultant Mike Krempa. The company roasted and packaged fresh nuts for local taverns, restaurants and grocery stores. In the early years, Earl ran the routes himself and was the mastermind of creating the route system for King Nut. Over the years, they established a route system where they had a fleet of small delivery trucks that delivered their goods.
Founder Earl Balliette pre-maturely died in the early 1950’s and his wife Edna Balliette who had always helped as a book keeper, now ran the business alongside her brother. The company continued to grow and in the early 1970’s, they purchased a new state of the art manufacturing plant in the Cleveland suburb of Solon. Mr. Krempa passed away suddenly in the late 70’s leaving Mrs. Balliette and her sister in law as owners. The company had grown to 30 employees by this time.
In 1970, Donald Kelling sold his business to his son-in-law John Beletic. He later also purchased the Charles A. Peterson Company and merged it back in with his family’s Peterson Nut Company. They grew into a gourmet nut provider.
Mrs. Balliette was able to buy her sister in law out of the business and ran the company by herself until she sold the business to Mike Kanan’s Kanan Enterprises in 1989. With his sons Marty and Matt along with Joe Valenza, they grew the business considerably over the years. The company grew from 30 employees to over 150 by 2003.
In 1989 Peterson Nut sold their business to Ed Kelley who was most known as the modern day founder of the Steak and Shake restaurant chain. The Kelley School of Business was also named after him at Indiana University. He formed Fairmont Snacks Group out of this purchase and operated two facilities in Ohio and In Virginia. He later sold the Virginia facility and consolidated the company back to Downtown Cleveland. Peterson’s by now was a well-known provider of high end gift tins of gourmet nuts for the holiday season. Peterson’s still has a presence in downtown Cleveland right next to the original site of the first Peterson Nut Company, across the street from the Cleveland Indian’s Ball Park.
Having become well known for servicing all the major airlines in North America as well as selling to retailers and food service distributors, King Nut established Summer Harvest Brands in 1995 to provided pretzels and snack mixes to their major customers.
In 2003, Kanan Enterprises purchased Peterson Nut (Fairmont Snacks Group) and merged it with King Nut to form King Nut Companies. They moved the manufacturing from Peterson’s into King Nut’s facility but left the original location as a factory outlet store. With Mike Kanan as Chairman, Marty Kanan as President and CEO, Matt Kanan as EVP of Sales and Joe Valenza as CFO, the company continues to be a leader as one of the top nut and snack companies in the USA with over 300 employees and 4 facilities. The company is still a major airline provider and is now a well-known private label provider, co-packer and retail supplier. The company is SQF certified and recently installed a brand new oil roaster capable of roasting another 40 million pounds of nuts annually. The company is set to grow again to continue to be a premier nut company in the nation.
In 2001 King Nut moved into an 89,000 square foot facility to handle their growth. In 2006, they purchased an 85,000 square foot facility across the street and operated them both together and in 2009 they also added a 53,000 square foot distribution center down the road from their two manufacturing plants.