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Madison’s Fortune Favors is continuing to grow

The beloved nut company will be featured on “Top Chef: Wisconsin.”

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Fortune Favors, formerly Nutkrack, has a new production facility to help with growth. | Photo via Fortune Favors (Sunny Frantz)

Madison’s Fortune Favors, formerly Nutkrack, is growing in national prominence. The candied pecan company’s products can now be purchased at more than 700 retailers in all 50 states.

To add to the company’s growing recognition, Fortune Favors nuts will appear on an upcoming episode of “Top Chef: Wisconsin.” We suspect that episode may air tomorrow night at 8 p.m.: the episode preview suggests an indigenous element, and pecans are the only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America.

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Fortune Favors’ production facility has room to grow in Cottage Grove. | Photo by 608today

Before making appearances on major cooking shows, however, Fortune Favors started in 2018 as a small shop at 2086 Atwood Ave. Co-founder Eric Rupert, former executive chef at Epic Systems, started the business with his son and Jessica Benish, its current COO. It quickly garnered a cult following.

“Madison people are incredibly supportive,” said Sam McDaniel, Fortune Favors’ CEO. During the throes of COVID, he said, people would literally bang on the Atwood store’s door fearful that it would close.

It didn’t. Sales doubled and doubled again.

“People are hardcore,” McDaniel laughed in the warehouse. “You need that backyard support.”

To keep up with demand, the business rebranded to Fortune Favors in 2023 and moved from the cramped confines of the small retail store to a 19,000-sqft facility in Cottage Grove.

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Fortune Favors is now available in over 250 Whole Foods stores. | Photo by 608today

McDaniel is excited that the new facility, with a production capacity of one million pounds, can keep up with the company’s continued expansion. In the new space there are offices for staff, a meeting space, a larger production area, a large warehouse, and more storage capacity, all of which were inadequate at the Atwood location.

Growth is coming on quickly. Being highlighted on “Top Chef: Wisconsin” will help.

But, as McDaniel said, “It’s not about the pecans. It’s about the people.”

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