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

A Woman’s Touch

08 March, 2013

Of course anytime you increase your floor space you need to have merchandise to fill it up. My mother and her team of ladies worked hard to look for unique novelties, paper products, costumes and decorations to put in stock. Suddenly we were stocking masks of every sort, bridal and baby shower trinkets, cake toppers, novelties for school carnivals, costumes, wigs, tickets, paper tableware and on and on. My mother brought to life another whole side of the Cromer’s experience. At a time when there were no big box stores and no internet, Cromer’s was the place to come if you needed most anything for a party, carnival or any event. The phrase got to be “if you can’t find it at Cromer’s, you can’t find it!”

-Carolette Cromer Turner

Remembering the Jif Chips

25 February, 2013

Once we moved into the building on the corner of Lady and Assembly which was an old gas station/tire store, we added a snack-bar complete with sno kones, popcorn, boiled and roasted peanuts, candy apples and Jif chips. Jif chips that were about the size of a quarter and looked more like a small piece of orange plastic. They were poured into hot oil and fried. When they came out they were jet puffed and tasted quite good. I can’t begin to imagine what these were made of but we sure sold a lot of them and to this day, I will have some people come in and ask if we still have those available. Now I know those people have been around quite awhile to remember those chips!

-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

78 Years of Loving Our Customers and Staff

08 February, 2013

Recently I came upon an old legal pad with notes from my uncle which thankfully validated my previous memories about our business. One of the points of interest that stood out to me was that Cromer’s never had segregated restrooms or water fountains. In my uncle’s notes he states that up to 50 peanut hucksters (men mostly who sold peanuts on the street) would come by daily to use the restroom and to fill their cups with water. My grandfather always believed in treating all people fairly. Everyone was given the same courteous service no matter race or creed, customer or employee. We continue to offer the same kind of service today at Cromer’s. Whether a person purchases a two thousand dollar piece of equipment or a $1.00 bag of peanuts, everyone is important who takes the time to walk into my business.

-Carolette Cromer Turner

Taking over the National Guard Armory

18 January, 2013

To the left of the original building we leased and across an alley was the National Guard Armory Building. When that was vacated (I believe in the early 60’s) we leased that building for our warehouse, shipping and printing departments. It was three stories tall with only stairs to move products up and down. I still have visions of men being hired off the street to unload trucks with fifty pound bags of popcorn and moving them into the warehouse. Today that building houses The Vista Bank.

-Carolette Cromer Turner

A Hole in the Wall Means a BIGGER Cromer’s

11 January, 2013

The showroom space for concession equipment and supplies, vending equipment and supplies and now bingo equipment and supplies was quickly filling up. Customers began asking for more products in the novelty line for school and church carnivals. In the early sixties, the building that served as a gas station and auto supply business was becoming vacant so guess what? We cut another hole through another wall and we leased the space that would be known as our Wholesale/ Retail Showroom until a tragic fire destroyed it in December 1993.

- Carolette Cromer Turner

From Buttons to an Office

14 December, 2012

In the late 50’s we were selling not only peanuts, but concession and vending equipment and supplies and vending machines and everything to go into them. Customers began to ask for bingo cages, cards and balls. Where my dad saw an opportunity to sell a new product, he researched it and soon we were selling it! With these new products, my dad and uncle realized they needed more office space for record keeping and they each needed their own desk. They leased the next building to the right and soon a hole was cut in the brick wall and the button shop that was there became our office space until the late 80’s.

-Carolette Cromer Turner

Cheap Labor

07 December, 2012

My dad figured it would be cheaper to purchase empty capsules and have his daughters fill them at home rather than paying for the prefilled ones. I can still see the boxes of empty capsules in our family room and the bags of tiny items we used to fill them. My sisters and I were paid $1.00 for every 500 capsules we filled. Talk about child labor rules!!! My parents did not believe in us ever relaxing in front of the TV. If we were sitting we needed to have something to do with our hands and so we filled those capsules.

Probably the most memorable item to go in the capsules was the live Mexican Jumping Beans! (We learned very quickly these had a short shelf life.)

-Carolette Cromer Turner

From P-Nuts to Bubble Gum and Everything in Between

03 December, 2012

From the small store at 1235 Assembly Street, my dad began to realize we needed to add other products and if we were to add more products we needed more room. He leased the building to the right of our store as soon as it was available; cut a hole through the brick wall that separated the buildings and soon it was filled with concession equipment and supplies for cotton candy, popcorn and snokones. Then he added vending equipment and supplies. When my dad ordered that first truck load of bubble gum my grandfather was sure it was a mistake and they would never sell all of it! Imagine his surprise when it sold and customers asked for novelties and capsules to fill the machines as well.

-Carolette Cromer Turner