Origin Story

In 1990 my husband and I began making homemade candied pecans as holiday gifts for our extended family. Soon our three boys joined us. We all looked forward to the sweet aroma that filled the house every Christmas as we prepared our tried and true recipe for others. The overwhelming joy of those receiving our pecans kept the tradition going for 26 years. Then the unexpected happened. We never intended to begin a family business, but Pecans by Karen was born out of tragedy.

Eighteen days after high school graduation, our son Jacob landed badly in a foam pit at a trampoline park. He broke his neck, averting paralysis by millimeters. He had an amazing medical staff, as well as family, friends, and a wonderful community surrounding him. He decided to defer his college plans a year, while taking the necessary six months to heal. He then contacted Global Baseball and NEXTLVL Sports Institute regarding mission opportunities. He needed to raise funds before heading to Atlanta with NEXTLVL Sports Institute as an intern. That’s when the idea hit us – he could sell our much loved family pecans! They were a hit!! Soon others were giving our gift to the special people in their own lives.

Due to his success, Jacob’s customers asked him if he’d be selling pecans next Christmas. He responded, “That’d be cool, but I’m planning to be in college next fall.” My husband and I thought, “Hey, we’re going to have three kids in college soon – how about giving this a go as a business?” And so began Pecans by Karen. We now share our family gift- giving tradition with you in the hope you’ll share it with others.

Featured on Voyage Houston Magazine

We are so honored that Voyage Houston Magazine highlighted Pecans by Karen in their October 2022 local stories. Of which, you can read the full interview/story on their website here.

This will get you started:

“Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Gwynne.

Hi Karen, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.

My husband, Geoff, and I started making candied pecans for our family as Christmas gifts in 1990. As our three boys were added to the family, they helped as they were able. Fast forward 25 years. Just weeks after high school graduation, our son Jacob landed badly in a foam pit at a trampoline park, averting paralysis, but fracturing 4 vertebrae. He was in a halo and then a neck brace for 6 months after surgery. Long story short, he deferred his college plans a year, but he had some extra time once he had healed. Being a baseball player, he got connected with Nextlvl Sports in Atlanta Georgia, a high-level baseball organization instructing youth in baseball, faith and character development. He became their first Volunteer Intern. The volunteer part required a need to raise money, so I suggested he “sell those pecans we’ve been baking all these years”. Well, he did, and we discovered that people really liked our pecans! Two things happened next. First, Jacob left for Georgia, and he hasn’t looked back. He interned there every summer of college, and at graduation become the Director of Baseball Operations. He has since left Nextlvl and is now a professional hitting instructor and the owner of Yes Yes Training in NW Atlanta.”

Jacob spent four summers interning in Atlanta with NEXTLVL Sports Institute instructing youth in baseball, faith, and character development. Following his passions, he now coaches in Atlanta and is the owner of Yes Yes Training, after having played four years of college baseball. His determination to heal quickly and allow a bad situation to be used for good inspired me to begin Pecans by Karen, bringing these delicious pecans to you.