Unique Snacks gets twisted results with SBA’s technical assistance program

Justin Spannuth from Unique Pretzels

Unique Snacks is a historic, family-owned business located in Reading, Pennsylvania – the pretzel capital of the world!  With 85 employees, Unique Snacks manufactures pretzels differentiated by their distinctive textures (splits, extra dark, sprouted, unsalted & extra salted, sourdough and pretzel shells). They also manufacture enrobed pretzels (dark, white & milk chocolate and peanut butter flavors), dips (jalapeño, honey mustard, wasabi, and German mustard flavors), and have introduced a new snack category – Puffzels. Puffzels are a puffed, non-fried snack in four savory flavors made from 100% non-GMO ingredients. The Puffzels line was in development for two years.

The company sells to major grocery chains and to a variety of specialty and gourmet stores throughout the U.S. Unique Snacks exports indirectly via independent international distributors to customers in the Caribbean, Israel, and Japan.

Justin Spannuth and his brother William Spannuth are the 6th generation managing the family business. Their inquisitive natures and dedication to lifelong learning have guided them in creating a synergistic approach to the brand’s growth and their family business succession plans. The brothers were instrumental in introducing new innovative products, including Pretzel Shells, a Sprouted Grain line, and Sourdough Craft Beer Pretzel Rings that boosted Unique Snacks from a regional bakery to a nationally recognized brand.

Unique Snacks has been a client of the U.S. Small Business Administration-backed Kutztown University Small Business Development Center for the past six and a half years. The company has benefited from a variety of the SBDC’s no-cost services such as:

  • Website and social media review and analysis
  • Research and recommendations on launching a corporate program and charitable group sales program
  • Export sales and marketing research, including access to grants from Food Export USA and STEP GAP grants for trade shows, promotional activities, labeling, plus logistics and shipping issues

“Justin and William Spannuth and the many members of the Spannuth family have grown Unique Snacks through six generations and 102 years,” said Steve Dixel, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director. The SBA and our resource partners play a role in helping small businesses sustain good-paying jobs in the region and impact the Central Pennsylvania economy.”

“My interactions with Unique Snacks have demonstrated the quality and integrity of their senior management,” said Martin Brill, Coordinator, Ag Center of Excellence, Penn State Small Business Development Center. “SBDC business consultants rarely work with a business over 100 years old.  Our experience suggests that a small minority survive three generations, and Unique Snacks is on their sixth generation of family ownership and management.”

Unique Snacks generously provides a wide variety of their products to over 300 requests every year, including Habitat for Humanity, Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs, Home Rescue Mission, Women in Crisis, Cub and Boys Scouts, American Legion Posts, veterans’ organizations, schools and school clubs, fire companies, sports teams, and churches. 

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Agriculture Center of Excellence serves agriculture industries across the state of Pennsylvania. It is a joint initiative with Penn State, Clarion University and The University of Scranton designed to help Pennsylvania agriculture businesses sustain operations and stabilize food supply chains in the wake of the pandemic. By leveraging host institution resources and partnerships, the initiative supports agriculture industries through specialized educational programming and consulting services. Funding support for this initiative was provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the CARES Act.

The Penn State SBDC helps businesses in Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, and Mifflin counties start, grow, and prosper. The SBDC program is a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and 15 universities and colleges across the Commonwealth.

This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.