In 1936, more than 300 Planters Peanut Shoppes spanned the country, but in the early 60s, the shops went on the market for independent ownership. Today, more than 80 years later, only about a dozen original Peanut Shoppes are in operation, and one of them is in Columbus.
After three different downtown locations and a few owners, Pat Stone, an Ohio State alumna, and her husband, Mike, now hold the keys to this nostalgic candy shop. Located on the corner of High Street and State Street, this tiny store sells roasted nuts, a variety of chocolates and, with Halloween approaching, themed candies.
“We make people happy,” Pat said. “A little bag of warm nuts, a little bag of your favorite candy or a big bag of chocolates will tend to make the day go a little better.”
About 200 treats are available and range from U.S.-bought chocolates like snow caps, chocolate-covered peanuts and locally made Buckeye candies. The Stones have also stocked the glass case with candy corn and pumpkin-shaped candies.
And with a name like the Peanut Shoppe and an iconic neon sign featuring Mr. Peanut hanging from the storefront, of course a large variety of roasted and plain nuts are served. Made in-house and cooked with peanut oil, butter and salt, the couple prepares the roasted nuts daily in the roaster that came with the original shop.
Even though the Stones have only owned the store since 1996, they have been with the Peanut Shoppe for 45 years. In 1972, when the two were just dating, Mike accepted a position to wear the hard-shelled Mr. Peanut costume for $1.50 an hour.
Paying his way through college, Mike eventually moved up the management ladder and then had an opportunity to purchase the store.
“I was just looking for a little book money to go to school, and the next thing you know, I own the place,” Mike said. “I got such a bad sweet tooth, I bought the entire store.”
For local events or shop celebrations, like their 80th birthday party last year, Mike puts on a newer Mr. Peanut costume than what he wore in 1972, in hopes of bringing a smile to anyone’s face.
Pat said the Peanut Shoppe has been able to stay in business for so many years mostly due to loyal customers who remember going to the shop when they were children and choosing from a wide selection of treats.
“We remind people of good times,” Pat said. “You can come in here and you’re going to find a friendly face and a little treat.”