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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.

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.

 

 

Going nuts by Chris Worthy

11 February, 2014

After 75 years, Cromer’s P-nuts is still a must-go destination for party supplies


Carolette Cromer Turner admits to a few nuts in her family tree. After all, she is in the peanut business.

As the third generation owner of Cromer’s Peanuts, Turner embraces her family’s legacy and her grandfather’s sense of humor. In 1935, Julian Cromer began what would become an integral part of Columbia’s history.

“My grandfather was a farmer in Lexington,” Turner said. “(Farmers) would fill up their trucks with produce and bring it over to Assembly Street. That block between Lady and Gervais, and maybe even one more up and one more down, they put sheds up.”

But Cromer soon came to specialize in peanuts, something that caused Turner’s grandmother to question the family’s survival.

“I remember her telling me — how would he sell enough peanuts for us to live?” she said. “He was an astute businessman with a great sense of humor.”

When a competing peanut salesman declared his wares the best and Cromer’s the worst, a slogan was born.

“All day long that man would holler out, ‘Don’t buy Cromer’s peanuts. Mine are the best,’” Turner said. “(Cromer) tore a piece of cardboard off and put a sign up: Worst in town.”

Soon, Cromer guaranteed his assertion.

Cromer’s grew as customers began to ask for popcorn and vending supplies. Much of Turner’s childhood is connected to her family’s business, which she recounts with typical Cromer humor.

“We did our roasting and boiling,” she said. “I can remember us selling our peanuts across this warm metal bin. As a child it always reminded me of a casket.”

As the business grew physically, adding one building after another, Turner’s father added more vending supplies, beginning with 1,000 pounds of bubble gum, much to Julian Cromer’s chagrin.

“My grandfather said, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ll never sell it,’” Turner said.

But they did sell it and the next 1,000 pounds as well. 

At one time, Cromer’s had a store at Dutch Square Mall, complete with monkeys. It was typical of Julian Cromer, who loved the attention the store received but who also loved oddities in general. He owned geese, peacocks and a talking parrot. 

As Turner celebrates 75 years of Cromer’s Peanuts, she is returning the business to its roots, even if in a high-tech way.

“We are going back more to our core products: peanuts, popcorn, candies,” she said. “With the advent of the Internet and the big box stores, we are constantly changing to stay in business. You have to evolve.”

Part of that evolution is found in online sales, but the Columbia store remains fun for local customers who make it a priority stop for birthday party and tailgating supplies.

Even before they walk in the Huger Street store, customers know they are in for something a little out of the ordinary. A sign outside declares, “Many nuts pass through these doors.”

“One day, we had a disgruntled customer,” Turner recalled. “He came in and said, ‘I take issue with what you have on the door.’”

Turner’s employee simply replied, “Sir, we’re in the peanut business.”

But most customers get the joke and appreciate the family’s wit. Occasionally they even surprise Turner, such as the time a woman entered the store on behalf of her deceased father.

“She said, ‘His last request was that I pick up his ashes and go to every one of his favorite places in Columbia,’” Turner said. “I said, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to bring him inside?”

The customer’s reply? “No, he’s fine in the car.”

Turner clearly has the business in her blood. She makes a point of working the sales floor as many days as she can and she finds family not just in those who share her name. Many of the company’s employees have been around for years, some for decades. The employee in charge of boiling peanuts has been part of the Cromer’s family for more than four decades.

Whether in the store or on line, Turner wants customers to laugh and find moments of pure joy. She saw that attitude recently in an older couple who delighted in Cromer’s barrels of old-fashioned candy. 

“They spent $52 on loose candy,” Turner said. “They were like 5-year-olds. They had so much fun.”

And that makes the worst peanuts something worth savoring.

“It should be a place that makes you feel good,” Turner said.

The Week of 10,000 Candy Apples

18 March, 2013

Autumn and Halloween at Cromer’s during the 70’s and 80’s meant a store full of customers. School carnivals were in full swing and PTO members were in our store filling their carts with novelties for prizes at their events. Sometimes there would be 6 or more carts per order overflowing with merchandise as a group would check out at the register. One particular week when the fair was in town and the health department had decreed the vendors there could not prepare their own candy apples, we made 10,000 candy apples! Every one of our employees who made the apples had their fingers wrapped in band aids because of the blisters that were formed from spinning the apples!

-Carolette Cromer Turner