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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.

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”.

 

Childhood Memories

28 July, 2014

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

78 years; still Family Owned and Operated

15 April, 2013

Cromer’s has always been a family business. My grandfather believed in the family working together. Initially all four of his sons worked in the business, the younger two while attending college. (One of my uncles even put a jar in the business which had a sign that stated “Perry’s College Fund.” He was amazed people actually dropped coins in it!) Eventually my mother and one of my aunts joined the business then all of my sisters and me, plus two of our cousins. Even many of our employees were related to us or were related to each other. While we don’t have as much family involved today, I still consider us a family business with all the same joys and issues any family deals with.

-Carolette Cromer Turner

My, how “times” have changed.

15 February, 2013

In the “Legal Pad of Thoughts” (see last blog) is an entry about a clock. It seems when Cromer’s moved into the brick and mortar store at 1235 Assembly, we had a Western Union clock. Western Union would feed a wire from their company to any business that needed a clock for the cost of $1.00 per month. (This was before electric clocks). A signal would correct any discrepancies in time each hour on the hour. Though I have a clock about the same size as that old Western Union clock in my office, today we generally rely on our cell phones to tell us the time or let us know where we need to be.

-Carolette Cromer Turner