From a few nuts, a Norman business grew
Mason's Pecans & Peanuts in Norman began as a small cracking operation out of Bill and Karen Mason's house. What began as a hobby soon grew into a cracking, shelling and retail business.
NORMAN — Brett Mason grew up in a houseful of nuts — literally.
“I remember our living room being full of bags of pecans. Everywhere you looked, they were stacked up,” he said.
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In 1967, his parents, Bill and Karen Mason, had decided to serve as the “drop-off point” for people wanting to have their pecans cracked.
They knew the owner of the nearest cracking operation, which was in Ada.
“People would drop off their pecans at our house, and every weekend mom and dad would drive to Ada with them,” Brett Mason said.
The couple advertised by nailing fliers to pecan trees and posting them around town, Brett Mason said.
Bill Mason soon decided he wanted his own cracker and by 1968 found one to purchase.
“It was old, something out of the industrial age. It didn't work well,” Brett Mason said.
Nonetheless, it marked the true beginning of Mason's Pecans.
The couple operated the cracker out of their house on Findlay Street until 1971, when they bought the OU Motel in east Norman.
The family lived in part of it, rented out most of it and reserved a back room for the pecan cracker.
“It started as something of a hobby for them,” Brett Mason said, but the business just continued to grow.
Eventually, the couple bought a house on two acres of land near where the IHOP Restaurant is on Ed Noble Parkway.
When a Tecumseh pecan farmer died, Bill Mason bought the man's three crackers, a sheller and a blower.
“We hired a manager for the motel and moved to the property on the west side. We ran the business out of our house again. We turned the one-car garage into a cracking room,” Brett Mason said.