Al’s Gourmet Nuts: ‘The best gifts in the world’

Al’s Gourmet Nuts is a family owned and operated business that has been serving up gourmet nuts as corporate and personal gifts for 20 years.

“Our whole core of our business is to deliver great gifts,” Margaret Wilson-Anaglia, owner of Al’s Gourmet Nuts, said. “We are the best gifts in the world.”

Established in 2000, Al’s Gourmet Nuts is centered around providing gifts that people genuinely care for and at the same time offering a quality product.

“Our mission is to make sure we’re delivering that product that’s made with fresh and local ingredients and a gift that keeps on giving,” Wilson-Anaglia said.

Margaret Wilson-Anaglia, along with her husband are at the forefront of Al’s Gourmet Nuts. Born and raised in the Alamo City, Wilson-Anaglia earned degrees from both the University of Incarnate Word and Trinity University. Her professional career began in the private sector and she eventually transitioned  to working for the city doing economic development. All the meanwhile, Wilson-Anaglia also had several side businesses that she operated in addition to her full-time job. This entrepreneurial attitude, however, was not something she was raised to have.

“As an entrepreneur, I didn’t grow up with an entrepreneur’s mindset,” Wilson-Anaglia said.

Wilson-Anaglia’s parents encouraged her to earn a college degree and to find a traditional job to ensure that she was set financially. However, after an opportunity to buy an existing nut company came up, Al’s Gourmet Nuts was born and Wilson-Anaglia was determined to find success.

“I knew I could turn this business and take it to the next level,” she said.

Although Wilson-Anaglia had no experience with a food business, she harnessed her entrepreneurial mindset and set forth on Al’s Gourmet Nuts.

“What I did as an entrepreneur, just like everyone else, I took a chance,” she said. “My philosophy was, ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen.’”

After launching in 2000, Wilson-Anaglia has worked full-time with Al’s Gourmet Nuts for the past ten years. The business saw tremendous growth and, in fact, 2020 was going to be the businesses’ best year ever until the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on almost everything.

“I cried and I was angry and frustrated and scared like everyone else,” she said. “But the second week I said, ‘okay, I didn’t’ cause this, I can’t control it, and I can’t change it, so what can we do?’”

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually every segment of Al’s Gourmet Nuts was shut down or paused. Every leg of their business saw a simultaneous shutdown including fundraising through the schools, corporate gifts, and special events. Wilson-Anaglia and her team were forced to adapt to the change in circumstance.

“I think pivoting is putting it mildly,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing about entrepreneurship, it’s always been about adapting. We just had to adapt a lot more now to this.”

The business was able to take a look at the financials and utilize some savings to avoid panic.  Although big plans were disrupted for 2020, Wilson-Anaglia is still positive for the future.

“Has COVID-19 affected our business?” Wilson-Anaglia asked. “Absolutely, but I’m willing to hold onto is that by surviving we are going to be stronger and better come 2021.”

Throughout the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilson-Anaglia was able to turn to the Maestro Entrepreneur Center for information, resources, and a place to ask for help.

“You all have been a really awesome beacon of information and the information has actually been usable,” she said.

Overall, there are many things that Wilson-Anaglia is proud of when it comes to Al’s Gourmet Nuts.

“The thing I’m most proud of is that it’s practically debt free, we are family owned and operated, and I think the most important thing is that we have really helped a lot of businesses.”

Not only that, as a business Al’s Gourmet Nuts makes it a priority to buy and utilize local products and ingredients as much as possible including lavender from the Texas Hill Country and peanuts and pecans from Texas-based companies.

“It’s really important because everything starts at home,” she said. “If we’re not taking care of our community, then who is going to take care of us? If I can’t buy local, then how am I showing up for my community?”

Ultimately, Wilson-Anaglia sees a bright future for Al’s Gourmet Nuts with more consistent national accounts, more conventions and trade shows, and more opportunities to share their product with all 50 states. However, throughout all of that, Wilson-Anaglia is focused on self-care, celebrating successes, and loving what she does.

“There are some days that I may not like being an entrepreneur, but I love what I do,” she said. “I love bringing joy to people.”

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