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Godspeed: Saying Goodbye To Retiring Friends

28 June, 2017

This week, we are saying goodbye to dear friends of ours; employees who have been at Cromer's P-Nuts for decades.  Brother and sister duo, Lynn and Kathy Willis, are parting ways after more than three decades of service apiece to the Columbia, South Carolina community.

When asked about his experience at Cromer's over the past several years, Lynn shared his account:

I began my time with Cromer's in the 80’s part time helping out with gift tins and whatever else James and JD wanted me to do. I came on board full-time in the early 90’s. My primary focus was to organize and manage a food processing department. I had the pleasure of having great people to work with such as HD, Louise, Buck, Wade, Ruby and Cleve; together we made a successful department. My duties expanded to include assisting shipping, purchasing, packaging, costing and pricing. 

Some of my fondest memories are the relationships built with my Cromer's family. I will list a couple examples: 

(1) We had an old outdated peanut bagging machine that continuously had maintenance problems and one day the machine went down around lunch time so JD came up to help me get it back operating. He pulled up a chair and had me removing parts and adjusting tensions, etc. We worked on the machine about 1 ½ hours then JD got up and said he was going to the house and for me to put the machine back together and if I had any problems to give him a call. I looked at the pile of parts in front of me as JD was leaving thinking, "How will I ever get this thing back together?" I stayed until 10:00 that night working on that machine before I finally got it operating because of the confidence JD had in me. He taught me so much about the daily operations of our business.

(2) James came to me one day and told me we needed to go to Spartanburg and look at some equipment. I asked him what type of equipment we were going to check on and he stated he did not know but would find out when we get there. When we got to the location and walked in the front door, I saw commercial kitchen stoves, refrigerators, blenders and more and told James I do not see anything we need and he told me I was right and we headed back to the store. On the way back, we got close to the Newberry exit and he asked if I was hungry, I told him we would be back in Columbia shortly and then we could eat. He asked if there was a good place to eat at this exit and I told him there is a Quincy’s Steak House there so he wanted to stop. I was only thinking about what we could order quickly so we could get back to the store. We entered Quincy’s, placed our order and James began entertaining the customers and staff. The people were coming to the table to watch his magic tricks and listen to his stories. James sent me to his car to get some peanuts that he always had with him and proceeded to pass out the peanuts and tell the Cromer's story. James taught me so much about margins and pricing but most of all how to be a true ambassador for our business. We got back to Columbia 2 1/2 hours later.

I have a lot of great memories, but the above I treasure. James and JD valued their employees but they also expected a good work ethic and honesty. James used to preach the importance of working hard and playing hard. JD did not like to see someone standing around and would say, "If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean."

I will miss the challenges, relationships with employees, customers and vendors but it is time for a new adventure. Thanks for the memories!

When we spoke to Kathy about her time here, she shared her history as well:

I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked for Cromer’s P-Nuts, LLC for over 32 years. I started in the Packaging Department where I was promoted to Assistant Manager. After the fire, I was given the opportunity to move into Customer Service/Sales where I would eventually be promoted to Manager. We have the best customers in the world and some of them have been with us since the Assembly Street store.

Some of my greatest memories are of the store on Assembly Street during October/Halloween. People would be lined up out the door to get costumes and accessories, novelties and candy apples, cotton candy and more. We worked some long hours but we had so much fun doing so!

I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years but Cromer’s, now managed by Carolette, has remained faithful to the business and treating their employees like family. It has been a joy working for and with them. I’m looking forward to retirement but will certainly miss my work family and our wonderful customers. I wish the best for Cromer’s and look forward to seeing them at the new location on North Main Street in the future. If you’ve never been to Cromer’s you don’t know what you’re missing! 

Carolette Cromer-Turner, who has worked with the Willis siblings over their careers said, "Lynn and Kathy have each been such an asset to Cromer's. They have certainly made my owning the business the past eleven years much easier. I wish them both a happy, relaxing retirement, but I expect them to keep their phone lines open in case I need them!"  

We will certainly miss these two dedicated, passionate characters in our lives each day at Cromer's, but as Lynn said, it is time for a new adventure.  Godspeed to our dear friends, Lynn and Kathy, as they embark into retirement!  

Cromer's at Dutch Square Mall - by Rob Turner

29 August, 2016

Always a fun trip down "memory lane" for me - thinking about Cromer's P-Nuts store at Dutch Square Mall. From the time my parents would park their car, I was ready to run through the Dutch Square Mall parking lot to get inside and go to Cromer's P-Nuts. Walking past the Eckerd Drugs soda fountain & Orange Julius, and making that right turn to walk to Cromer's P-Nuts.

Prepare for Fourth of July with Cromer’s

23 June, 2016

We have American flags, patriotic popcorn and other treats for the whole family on 4th of July!

 

For a party, consider renting a snokone machine! We all know how hot summer is South Carolina can be, and our machines are a fun alternative to the traditional dessert. Wow your friends and family with red, white, and blue colored snokones.

 

Having a party with a large group? Our bushels of popcorn are a delicious treat for the entire neighborhood! Feed up to 40 people with our large popcorn bushels.

 

Enjoy the holiday with the company of your friends and family!

 

From our nutty family to yours,

 

Cromer's

Meet the Cromerians

16 June, 2016

Kasey Brown

  1. What is your job at Cromer’s?
    • I am the Café Manager
  2. How long have you worked at Cromer’s?
    • I have been here since February of 2015, almost a year and a half
  3. What is the most rewarding thing about working with Cromer’s?
    • What’s most rewarding about working with Cromer’s is seeing the customers happy, especially seeing people that come in again and again. There are people that have been coming here for 50 years and their parents coming here before them. It’s great when people talk about our customer service.
  4. What is your favorite thing about working for Cromer’s?
    • I love my coworkers, production, retail, and upstairs management but still act like a family and everyone knows each other’s names
  5. Anything else you’d like to add?
    • Cheesy-Sweet Monkey Munch is the best popcorn in the world.

 

 

Cromer's is celebrating its 80th anniversary

31 July, 2015

Cromer's loves the Gamecocks

20 November, 2014

When you think of Columbia, most of the time you think of the University of South Carolina and their beloved Gamecocks, at least we do! On Saturdays we love to be right by the stadium witnessing as the city becomes practically gridlocked with traffic from near and far coming to watch the Gamecocks dominate the football field.

 Cromer’s has been supporting the Gamecocks for as long as we have been around, but most recently, we support them from right outside the stadium at Gamecock Walk.

Every home game, Cromer’s is out tailgating with funnel cakes, corn dogs, fresh squeezed lemonade, sno-kones when its hot and hot chocolate when its cold and of course, our famous boiled peanuts. The Cromer’s team gets up bright and early to head out to the village to set up their tailgate. Fans from near and far (and even from opposing teams) stop by to see what Cromer’s is all about and always leave with a smile on their faces. No matter how bad the season is, Cromer’s will always be out there supporting the Gamecocks.

You can always find the Cromer’s tailgate team under the big red tent right inside Gamecock Village with all your favorite goodies. In honor of the last home football game of this season this Saturday at 12 pm against South Alabama, be sure to stop by and cheer on the Gamecocks like a true Columbian. We will be there bright and early ready for you all!

Working at Cromer's

10 November, 2014

On any given day you can come into Cromer’s and see the employees laughing and having a good time. They always say “choose a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life” and that is very true about the work environment here at Cromer’s. Us Cromerians have  outstanding work ethic and we all work hard every day… but we do it with a smile on our face. Just like how we strive to make our customers feel at home at Cromer’s, we also want our employees to feel like family.

Each month we have a staff breakfast to celebrate our birthdays, anniversaries, and we will sporadically have team building exercises that generally consist of telling jokes, eating and getting to know each other. At the end of the day, we all have each others back "one for all and all for one". Our managers do their best to maintain the “family feel.” and make sure we always feel comfortable talking to them. 

Though work is sometime long and exhausting (especially on the weekends and during the lunch rush), it is great to have a supportive work environment full of people willing to help. Many times during the busiest hours, you will find the owner or General Manager down on the floor helping out where they can to alleviate some of the stress of the sales associates. Where else can you find that? Cromer’s is a great environment to work in, if you like laughing and smiling through the long work shifts and busy days.

If you are interested in becoming part of our Cromer’s family, you are in luck. Cromer’s is currently hiring sales associates! Come in today to pick up an application and speak to our managers. We look forward to expanding our family with you.

 

The Cromer's family on Halloween

It's a Family Tradition

27 October, 2014

In 1935, Julian D. Cromer sold peanuts and a variety of vegetables at his one-man stand at the Assembly Street Curb Market in Columbia, S.C. Every morning he packed up his produce and drove downtown to the market where he roasted his own peanuts. The fresh taste was a hit with the locals who were sick and tired of snacking on stale peanuts. By 1937, Cromer's one-man produce stand was booming, but his success could not go on unchallenged; another enterprising local set-up his own peanut stand directly across the aisle from Cromer's. To lure customers, the new competition promised the “Best Peanuts” in Town. He even went so far as to tell everyone who walked by that Cromer’s peanuts were not good. Infuriated by what he heard, Cromer walked back to his produce stand and made a cardboard sign saying "Worst In Town." Later while he was still in a huff, he added one more word "Guaranteed." His competitor was astonished that any man in his right mind would advertise his products that way. When customers walked by and chose between peanut purveyors they made the logical decision--everyone flocked to Cromer's and “Guaranteed Worst in Town” was born. Business was so good in 1939 that Cromer quit selling other produce to devote all his time to the peanut business. After more than 79 years of business, Cromer's is still a landmark in downtown Columbia, proudly displaying their infamous slogan.

Today, Julian’s granddaughter, Carolette Cromer Turner, owns the family business. In the years since Julian Cromer first started his one man produce stand, Cromer's has grown to sell all kinds of fresh and flavorful snacks, as well as concession equipment, party supplies and advertising specialties. Of course, you can still get fresh peanuts. And everything at Cromer's is always “Guaranteed Worst in Town”.

 

Have a Spooktacular Halloween with Cromer's

21 October, 2014

Halloween is just around the corner and nothing is better than our spooky sweets. Just like the infamous Holiday Tins, we also offer Halloween Tins. In order to be the best host or hostess, it is imperative that your guests’ taste buds are satisfied. Purchase one of our Halloween Tins to have up on the table for your guests to snack on throughout the evening.

This is not just a regular tin either. It is a decorative Halloween tin guaranteed to get you and your company in the Halloween spirit. All tins will be one gallon in size and can be filled with a variety of peanuts and popcorn flavors. To order yours today, come by the store or contact customerservice@cromers.com

In addition to the Halloween Tins, you can also celebrate All Hallows’ Eve with some of our orange and black, Halloween Boo Corn. These come in a variety of sizes and can be purchased in store or online, fresh every day.

Whatever you choose, be sure to come by the store on Saturday, October 31st to see what costumes our staff will be dressed up in. You might even get a treat! Happy Halloween from your friends at Cromer's. 

Childhood Memories

28 July, 2014

Cromer's is my family, I will always love it.