News

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

Supporting your local nut house

03 November, 2014

What makes Cromer’s different from other competitors? Sure you can go buy popcorn at your local grocery store, you could get coffee from a chain like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and you could get your party supplies from Party City, but why come to Cromer’s?

Cromer’s is a local family business that started back in 1935. We talked about the beginning of the business with Mr. Julian Cromer and his peanuts in last week’s blog, but why should you come to Cromer’s for things other than our famous p-nuts and popcorn? Though Cromer’s has a big personality and representation around the Columbia community, it is still a “small business.” The Small Business Administration defines a small business as an enterprise having fewer than 500 employees and with only 22 we certainly fall into that category. 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 will hit its 80th birthday coming up, 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.

 

Here are a few other things that make Cromer’s special:

  • Popcorn: our popcorn is popped fresh every day. No, our bright yellow bags are not lying when they say “FRESH POPCORN” on them. Though it is popped fresh, if you keep it sealed tight, it can last up to 6-8 weeks. Our popcorn is also popped in coconut oil as opposed to the traditional canola oil. There are two oils that stay stable without the addition of citric acid, and of the two, coconut oil is the healthier option. So not only does our popcorn taste better because of it, it also allows you to enjoy much more with less shame. Search anywhere on the web and you will find that people much more prefer coconut oil popped popcorn to any other method.
  • P-nuts: along with our popcorn, our peanuts are boiled, packaged and placed on the shelves fresh every morning. You can often find Mr. Wade aka the Real Peanut Man on the sales floor with a shopping cart full of fresh peanuts every morning filling our fridge.
  • Café: sure you could grab a coffee at Starbucks or DD on your way to work, but why not support your local businesses and come to Cromer’s? Not only is Cromer’s a local business in itself; we also use a local micro roaster for our coffee beans as well. Once you taste Cromer’s coffee, you will not want to try anything else. It is full of flavor and made with love. We have had the same barista for some time and he has mastered the art of making coffee. Along with our delicious locally roasted coffee, we also offer free parking (which is hard to find in Columbia), free Wi-Fi and the comfiest couch in Cola.
  • Café 2.0: along with our coffee, our café also sells gourmet sandwiches, and a variety of breakfast items. Though the selection is not a large one, the sandwiches are made from fresh meats, cheeses and bread. Nothing is frozen- everything from the meats to the bagels is purchased fresh weekly. The croissants are even purchased from a local French bakery, Crepes and Croissants.
  • Party supplies: If you are holding a large party or cookout, Cromer’s is the hot spot for all of your supplies. Not only do we carry (and blow up for you) balloons, streamers, etc., but we also have plates, napkins, cups and tablecloths for your party. Anything you could possibly need, you more than likely can find it here.
  • Rentals: along with your party planning, why not go to the next level and rent a popcorn or cotton candy machine. Nothing makes people light up like seeing fresh popcorn or cotton candy. The steps are simple and you are bound to make an impression.
  • Events: If you do not want to make the popcorn or cotton candy yourselves, or if you want something more difficult to make like funnel cakes or boiled peanuts, then you can hire the Cromer’s special events’ staff to come out and cater your event. Though we are not your average catering company, we are a company with years of fair and carnival experience to provide the tastiest treats to you and your company.
  • ASI: One of the things Cromer’s offers that is not always known, is their Advertising Specialties. If you want anything customized for your company or organization from t-shirts to toilet paper, we can do that for you. With more than 800,000 products to choose from, you can build your business with us.

Sure all of these things can be purchased or found at other chain stores across the state, but they will never care about you like Cromer’s does. You are not just another credit card number or another face here at Cromer’s. You are family and we appreciate your support! 

 

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. 

Popping at the speed of sound

14 October, 2014

Chuck Yeager was an American test pilot who was the first person to break the sound barrier. If you don’t know what that means, that is when a speeding object (such as an airplane) passes the speed of sound.

            We are not pilots, but we do know a little something about breaking sound barriers. Every morning when our doors open for the staff at 7:30 a.m. they head straight to the food processing area and turn on the popcorn machines. You may not believe the bright yellow bags of popcorn on the shelves when they say “Fresh Popcorn”, but we can assure you they are more than accurate. By the time our first customer walks in at 8 a.m. the shelves are stocked with fresh popped popcorn. This is a result of our super speedy staff that surpasses the speed of sound running around the processing area popping and stuffing bags so that you can have them fresh, every day. Yeager made his history-setting flight on October 14, 1947, but we have been working at the speed of sound since 1935.

            If you come in mid-day and would prefer to have a warm snack for your ride home, then head up to the snack bar and ask for a fresh bag, box or bucket of popcorn. We have a popper right in the snack bar just for that reason. It too is turned on at 7:30 a.m. and isn’t turned off until closing time. Anytime of day, any day of the week (except for Sunday) come by and get your fresh popped popcorn. If you want to ship it to friends or family located elsewhere, no worries, that is all fresh too! You can order online at www.cromers.com or come into the store Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. or Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. See you then! 

Customer Service is important to us...and should be to you too!

07 October, 2014

Want to make a positive and lasting impression on your customers (of course, don’t we all)? We want to encourage you to send one of our gourmet gift tins or gift boxes to your customers this Fall. Filled with scrumdelicious (yes, we’re a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh) popcorn – salted, buttered, caramel, cheese, and other good treats like our roasted peanuts, our treats are sure to keep your business’s name top-of-mind with your customers. Check out our gift ideas here  or come into the store to pick them out yourself


          

We asked one of our attorney clients for some feedback from his customers. This particular attorney sends our gift tins to his referral sources and clients throughout the course of the year. Following are direct responses from that attorney’s clients:

“I’m delighted I could send you a couple pieces of
business..., but you certainly didn’t need to send me the
popcorn. Very thoughtful and yummy and I’m quite certain
with my college-age son home this weekend, that it will
have disappeared by Sunday night. ”

 

“Thanks for the Popcorn! What a nice Surprise. It is delicious, especially the
caramel! Lol”

 

“I received a humongous tin of popcorn yesterday. My office mates are diligently helping
me work through it, one bowlful at a time. Looks like it will take several of us multiple
bowlfuls per day for quite a while, but I think we are equal to the task. Thanks very
much!!”

Let us help you make a fantastic and lasting impression with your customers – contact us today at 1-800-322-7688, customerservice@cromers.com or come by the store at 1700 Huger Street to learn more about our customer loyalty programs.

 

 

Childhood Memories

28 July, 2014

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

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.

Cromer’s Café is open for Coffee

23 October, 2013

Two pleasures we will always enjoy- sipping a great cup of freshly brewed coffee, and reminiscing about our past. Let’s celebrate the best by giving in to life’s grand passion: Coffee drinking.

Carolina v. Clemson; Remembering “BIG THURSDAY”

29 April, 2013

The corner of Assembly and Lady Streets, where Cromer’s was located, was always a busy corner and no busier than a Carolina v. Clemson game! How many people remember “BIG THURSDAY?” We would put our sales people on the corner with bags of boiled and roasted peanuts to sell to the people in their cars. Traffic would get so backed up on Assembly Street going to the stadium! Fans didn’t want to get out of line to purchase their peanuts so we went to them. There would be sales people from local florists down the street selling the large chrysanthemum corsages: either white for Carolina or yellow for Clemson. What happy times those were to watch young men purchasing corsages for their wives or girlfriends as they were buying peanuts for themselves!

- Carolette Cromer Turner