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Inspiring Conversations with Sam Henselijn of L’Orenta Nuts

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Henselijn.

Hi Sam, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I came to the USA at age 16 on a D1 tennis scholarship. Played tennis for Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Received my Bachelors in Business and then my Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from there. After graduating I moved to San Antonio to work in the oil industry for about 5 years. I helped start a company in San Antonio. After my oil field adventure, I decided I want to do something that I enjoy and started L’Orenta Nuts. Started in my apartment that slowly became nothing but boxes and products and eventually moved to a small warehouse that became too small after the first year and we moved to a state-of-the-art climate controlled warehouse where we currently are.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I believe being an entrepreneur and smooth road don’t go together. There are many issues, hiccups and closed doors on this road. What I like the most is figuring out how to solve these issues, what can we do to maneuver around roadblocks and improve our situation. Some of the biggest struggles for me was the unknown and lack of knowledge on what to do. I learned in previous jobs what not to do but when it’s your own business it’s learning what to do or what’s best to do. Besides the operational learning curve, we also started an E-commerce website. E-commerce in itself is a beast, how to design it, what functions to add, which functions to place where, how to connect everything so its scalable, how to get found on the web, is not easy at all. It is very expensive and a slow process.

We’ve been impressed with L’Orenta Nuts, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a fifth-generation owner of an 80+ year-old business, I always tell people we’re in the business of customer service and just happen to sell nuts and candies.

I started L’Orenta nuts in 2016. It is a combination of my grandfather’s company Orenta with a little European twist I gave to the name. Being a family owned and operated business I wear many hats, but in general, I take care of the ideas, new products, strategy and operations. We are known for high quality nuts, authentic Dutch stroopwafels, candies and mainly gift sets for the Holiday season. I am proud of our company as a whole, starting from nothing in my apartment to now slowly moving the needle is really amazing to see. We have a small team that works very hard to make things happen and it is amazing to see the results we yield with our team. I really like our logo, if you look at it you can tell we spend some time on designing something that had a meaning. The lion’s mane goes into an acorn.

One thing I’m proud of on the production side is our delivery times, most online orders go out the next day. We have a very efficient system that allows us to serve our customers in a fast matter. We always offer promos and different ways to help our customers save a buck. We provide free shipping with a small minimum order. A cool feature we implemented for the San Antonio community is customers can place their order online at www.lorentanuts.com and during checkout can choose the “pick up” function so they can swing by our location and pick up their order.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
The biggest thing we learned during COVID-19 is that we have to adapt to our surroundings, our business took a big hit during COVID-19 and from one day to the next you need to adapt, make changes, change operations, change the way of doing business and get the whole team on board for new operational tasks and ways of doing things.

Always be Reliable: Living in a digital age where we can order a product and have it delivered to our door the same day puts even more pressure on companies to deliver on time and accurately. The worst thing that could happen is for a customer to open the wrong package or have their package be delayed for a big occasion.

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