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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(1) We had an old outdated peanut bagging machine that continuously had maintenance problems and one day the machine went down around lunch time so JD came up to help me get it back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.

 

 

Where are They Now- Abigail Hollingsworth

31 May, 2016

Abigail graduated from the University of South Carolina in May 2016 with a degree in public relations. She has worked at Cromer’s as the marketing intern from May 2015-May 2016. I had the opportunity to talk to her and see what she’s been up to.

  1. Where do you work now?
    • I work at Engineering Design & Testing.
  2. What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
    • I do article writing and layout for the magazine The Stress Point, layout an epistle, which is a 2-4 page book written by the engineers that work at Engineering Design & Testing, email marketing with MailChimp, make graphics, and I do a lot of editing.
  3. How has Cromer’s prepared you for your current job?
    • I learned marketing and business techniques and how to interact professionally with other clients, and email marketing.
  4. What was your favorite thing about working with Cromer’s?
    • I got to be the voice on social media.
  5. What was the most rewarding thing about working for Cromer’s?
    • My big (from my sorority) was my boss, I learned a lot about social media and marketing, the people I worked with were really nice, and I really enjoyed working here
  6. What set Cromer’s apart from other internships/jobs you’ve had?
    • They’re every hands on with learning and teach you. They don’t just throw you out into the wild.
  7. Any final comments you’d like to share?
    • Everyone should work for Cromer’s and should follow them on social media.

12 Days of Cromer's: Day Twelve

23 December, 2015

Happy Day 12! Thank you for joining us on 12 Days of Cromer's and we hope you learned a lot about what we can do for you in a variety of ways. Whether it be weddings, parties, concessions or just relaxing on the couch at home with a box of popcorn, Cromer's can do it all. 

In honor of our last day, we thought we would end on our history and how we got to where we are 80 years later.

In 1935, Cromer's was founded by midlands South Carolina farmer Julian D. Cromer. Shortly thereafter, Cromer's took on near legendary status when he added fresh roasted peanuts to his produce stand at the Farmers Market in depression-era Columbia. Although Cromer insisted on roasting a new batch every morning, a competitor would yell out to his customers, "Don't buy those mine are the best! Cromer's are no good." Cleverly Cromer agreed and posted his own slogan, "Guaranteed Worst in Town." Curious people soon flocked to his stand to try "the worst."
According to an article on Business Insider, Only 50% of small businesses survive five years, though most (70%) hit the two-year mark. Cromer’s just celebrated its 80th birthday, shooting down that statistic. However, the only reason Cromer’s has been able to stay open for so long is because of our loyal customers like you! Cromer’s strives to attain the best customer service in the area to make your experience better than it would be anywhere else. The majority of the employees have been working for Cromer’s for more than 20 years, so they are pros at what they do.
Thank you for sticking with us for 80 years, and we hope to enjoy 80 more years and beyond! 

12 Days of Cromer's: Day Eleven

22 December, 2015

Delicious, fluffy, buttery heaven in a bag.

Make your visits memorable by treating your hosts to our famously large, fresh and guilt-free bag of buttered popcorn. We bag it all by hand to make every kernel count. Make a lasting impression with the biggest leave behind you can find.

Our fresh butter popcorn is evidence that we use the highest grade of corn that is grown from hybrid seeds and have been developed for the best taste and tenderness. Our famous premium buttery popcorn is popped daily to guarantee freshness and the tantalizing smell and delicious taste make your mouth water for more. We also offer this fluffy, white popcorn in low fat and no salt alternatives!

Great for big events, big parties, weddings and more! (Check out why you should have Cromer's at your wedding, or any party, here.)

And remember, it is always “Guaranteed Worst in town”. Visit Cromer’s today.

12 Days of Cromer's: Day Ten

21 December, 2015

Today isn't about ten lords a'leaping, but it is all about boiled peanuts. Happy tenth day of 12 Days of Cromer's! 

The South is full of boiled peanuts. They have become so popular that they are South Carolina’s state snack.

There is no denying boiled peanuts are a southern staple, along with fried green tomatoes, fried chicken and barbecue, but boiled peanuts have been around longer than any of our other southern food friends. Many tend to think boiled peanuts arrived during the Civil War due to lack of nutritious foods. However, Southerners were eating boiled peanuts long before the Civil War. According to Serious Eats, peanuts were cultivated primarily by African Americans in their own garden patches for their own families' use up until the American Revolution.

When it comes to making and eating boiled peanuts, you could very easily boil your own, but you could also just stop into Cromer’s (we just so happen to be famous for our peanuts).

Our peanuts are boiled, packaged and placed on the shelves fresh every morning. You can often find Mr. Wade, aka Columbia’s Peanut Man, on the sales floor with a shopping cart full of fresh peanuts every morning filling our fridge.

Come in and see us or shop online for your boiled peanuts today! 

12 Days of Cromer's: Day Six

15 December, 2015

Happy day six of 12 Days of Cromer's! Did you know we sell more than just delicious popcorn, peanuts and cotton candy? Yep! We also sell t-shirts, coffee mugs and more. These presents make great stocking stuffers, so come get yours just in time for Christmas and support am 80-year-old local business at the same time. Win-win!

Support "the friendliest state" while also supporting the "Guaranteed Worst in Town" with this dynamic duo coffee mug. Whether for the avid local or the out of towner, this is the perfect gift for someone who loves, or has someone they love in, South Carolina.

What about your nuts? Show your Cromer's pride with this punny t-shirt made for the bold customers. People will ask questions and you can tell them about the "worst" store in town! Be a walking billboard for us. 

12 Days of Cromer's: Day Five

14 December, 2015

Happy Day Five of 12 Days of Cromer's! Back on Day Two, we told you all about our Christmas Tins, and today is all about our gift boxes and baskets. 

Our gift boxes and baskets are the perfect solution for for a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker. Filled with all of our famous and delicious treats, you are bound to satisfy the tastebuds of those in your life. Say "thank-you" to a boss, or show a customer how much you appreciate them.

Everyone deserves delicious treats and thoughtful gifts this holiday season, and there is no better gift than one from Cromer's. Our tins are perfect for friends, family and neighbors. They are also wonderful for corporate gifting whether you are buying for a client, your employees or the entire company.

Our gift boxes and baskets are great for a large group of people with different tastes. Our baskets such as the Homemade Variety Gift Box and the Cream of the Crop are filled with all of the tastes of Cromer's including peanuts, popcorn, peanut brittle and more.