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

The First POP of Cromer’s Popcorn

26 November, 2012

Not so long after moving into 1235 Assembly, my grandfather, dad and uncle decided to add a popcorn popper to our tiny sales floor. It was a free standing unit set in front of the water cooler near the window of the store. My sisters and I thought this was a wonderful idea and apparently so did our customers! Today, popcorn sales comprise about 15% of our revenue. The company that supplied us with that original popper remains the vendor where we purchase most of our concession equipment and supplies.

-Carolette Cromer Turner

My Dad, The P-nut Elephant Artist

16 November, 2012

My dad, James Cromer, was quite the artist and really a “Renaissance man” before that phrase was ever coined. He was always thinking up unique ways to attract customers to Cromer’s. After gluing peanuts to a sign in the shape of a large peanut for the Farmers’ Market, he set out to create an elephant made of peanuts. He cut out of plywood the head and upper body of an elephant then proceeded to glue peanuts on this large structure in our family room. It was a wonderful eye-catching addition to our business at 1235 Assembly. It was also the one thing my dad was sick to lose in the fire that burned our business to the ground in 1993!

-Carolette Cromer Turner

A Closet or an Office?

11 November, 2012

In our building on Assembly   Street, there was an open platform elevator where 50 pound bags of raw peanuts could be hoisted up to the second floor warehouse. To the delight of my sisters and me, our dad would sometimes allow us to ride up to the warehouse sitting on top of those bags of peanuts when we came to Columbia. My dad’s office was under the stairwell that was access to the second floor. In this tiny space were his desk, file cabinet, a very large safe and a rotating fan to cool the space in the summer. Every time I walk into my office today, I think of how my granddaddy and daddy ran Cromer’s from very cramped quarters and in all likelihood would have four desks in my office!


-Carolette Cromer Turner

The Burning Counter

02 November, 2012

Beside my granddaddy’s desk, Vasco Buff bagged boiled peanuts and roasted peanuts all day long for the retail customer. We had two sizes of bags for each: 10 and 25 cents.  We sold boiled and roasted peanuts along with different types of raw peanuts in the shell featured in open bins. The sales counter was really the warming bin for the roasted peanuts accessed by opening two large doors on top. As a young girl when I tried to help out at the store I would inevitably burn myself when standing behind that unit. Today that would never pass code in a retail environment!

-Carolette Cromer Turner

Granddaddy Cromer

26 October, 2012

My granddaddy Cromer was a very humble man with a wonderful sense of humor. He was a son of a Lutheran minister and believed in treating all his customers by the Golden Rule. His desk where he ran the business at 1235 Assembly St. was a pull out board next to the retail counter. Around this he kept his files, a rolodex with names and numbers and there he counted out the money from each day’s sales to make his bank deposits. He never had a formal office but ran a very successful business from where he could see all his customers come in the front door.

-Carolette Cromer Turner

Green, Red, New, Dry? What’s the Difference?!

19 October, 2012

Many people still ask us “what is the difference in a “new crop boiled peanut or green peanut” as compared to the “regular boiled peanut?” The difference is simply the new crop or green peanuts have been pulled from the ground at the end of its growing season and boiled without having been dried before boiling. These peanuts are only available from about May until mid October. At Cromer’s we boil our dry peanuts year round as well as the new crop from May until October.

-Carolette Cromer Turner