Uncle Wally puts all his chips on muffins
April 16, 2009 – by Bernadette Starzee, Long Island Business News
Wally “Famous” Amos, founder of Uncle Wally’s Muffin Co., is best known for the gourmet chocolate chip cookies he first marketed in the mid-1970s. But, today, the Shirley bakery is mostly about muffins – as in more than 400 million of them.
That’s the number the bakery expects to produce annually after its current expansion, said Michael Petrucelli, chief financial officer for the company. By early fall, Uncle Wally’s plans to have a fourth production line up and running to increase annual capacity by more than 100 million muffins. The company also expects to expand into an additional 25,000-square-foot Ronkonkoma facility in June, Petrucelli added.
“We are fortunate to be thriving in the current economic climate,” said Petrucelli, who noted the company has experienced double-digit growth each year for the past decade, but declined to give specific details since the company is privately held.
The bakery’s roots date to 1992, when Amos founded the Uncle Noname Cookie Co. Amos had sold the Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookie Co. to The Shansby Group and parted ways with the company in 1989, relinquishing his right to use the Famous Amos name. Lou Avignone, a New York distributor of Famous Amos, became a partner in Uncle Noname in 1994. They soon launched Uncle Noname Gourmet Muffins, which included a line of fat-free, nutritious muffins in response to Americans’ increasing desire for healthier foods.
In 1999, Uncle Noname changed its moniker to the Uncle Wally’s Co.; operations were consolidated into the Shirley facility in 2001.