I’m just going to put this out there and back away: It’s a local company called My Buddy’s Nuts.
Yeah, that’s what happens when you have a name like that. Giggles ensue. Sometimes blushes. And jokes, always jokes.
You think it’s hard on you? Imagine being Buddy. That’s local chef Phil Anderson, co-owner of the company with his wife, Bonnie Jones. Jones has a goofy sense of humor, and she’s the one who came up with the name for their line of flavored pecans.
“I’m guilty,” she declares. When people make jokes, “I’m like, ‘Bring it on.’ I have fun with it. He’s more like, ‘Get your mind out of the gutter. She can name it whatever she damn well pleases.’ ”
The name isn’t a double entendre, it’s a triple: Bonnie used to watch reruns of the classic TV show “Father Knows Best,” where the son was Bud Anderson. So when she met Phil, her family nicknamed him Bud.
There’s his recent job history: After years as culinary director for Harris Teeter, Anderson, 56, retired at the end of 2014 to launch a company selling the flavored pecans he had been making for family and friends. People said he was nuts.
And there’s that third meaning. It gets a lot of reaction, Jones admits. Some people – mostly middle-aged men – have a problem with it. Most women love it. Then there are groups that really love it. Anderson and Jones worked at a recent Gay Pride event and heard every variation of joke.
“It was hysterical,” Jones says. A man has to be very secure to handle a situation like that.
The joke, of course, is on everyone, because My Buddy’s Nuts are starting to take off. The 4-ounce bags – maple mustard, sweet and crunchy and spicy hot, plus pecan brittle – are in all the Total Wine & More locations in Charlotte, plus both Common Markets, and a couple of stores, including Caviar & Bananas, in Charleston. (The price varies by location, from $5.99 to $7.99.)
They also recently made it into several shops in Grand Central Station in New York. Besides the name, the packaging attracts attention, with a retro-looking woman as the logo (her official name is Bunny, and she was drawn by local illustrator Abby Miller based on a cocktail napkin Jones had seen).
In the super-competitive world of food marketing, there are advantages to having a name that makes people laugh. Jones was a theater instructor, and she and Phil used to have a cooking show on PBS, “The Chef’s Wife.” So she knows a little about playing to the crowd.
“People don’t forget it,” Jones says. “You have to have something that makes you different. For whatever reason, you’re going to remember the name.”