A mid-day stroll down Capitol Street gets a little salty when you near Quarrier, unless you prefer it sweet and chocolaty.
The scent of fresh, boiling peanuts is a trademark of The Peanut Shoppe, and while the store might argue that everyday is a good reason to celebrate peanuts, Wednesday is just good timing.
“No one ever comes in here angry — and if they do, they leave with a smile on their face,” said Adam Kimble who runs the store. “Who doesn’t love getting chocolate or nuts? Everybody has their go-to.”
The Peanut Shoppe will celebrate National Peanut Day on Wednesday the way it celebrates each and every day: roasting peanuts and providing Charleston with some of its favorite snack food.
Along with the pistachios, walnuts and almonds are sea salt caramels, gummy bears and chocolate-covered raisins. Chocolate-covered peanuts and roasted cashews are the shop’s top-sellers. Each serving comes in a little white paper bag, sealed with a Peanut Shoppe sticker.
While fad foods fade, like pumpkin spice and bacon-flavored treats, peanuts and candy remain good sellers.
“I think it has a lot to do with comfort food,” Kimble said. “The main thing that sets us apart is we get everything in raw. We cook it here ourselves.”
The nuts are roasted in an antique machine, which hasn’t moved since the shop opened in 1950.
“A lot of time if you come in around lunch time, you’re going to get hot cashews or hot pecans that we just cooked,” Kimble said. “There’s nothing better than warm peanuts.”
He may be just a tad biased, considering he grew up in the Shoppe. It was opened by his grandfather, the late Delbert Moore, a native of Monongalia County.
Moore trained with Planters in Wilmington, Delaware, and first worked in a shop in Trenton, New Jersey.
When he wanted to open a shop in his home state, Planters gave him two options — Charleston or Huntington. He chose the capital city and managed the shop for 10 years before purchasing it.
On Friday, the Shoppe will celebrate 67 years.
“It’s a tradition for a lot of people,” Kimble said. “Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t come in and say, ‘I used to come in here when I was a kid.’”
Capitol Street might not attract the same hustle and bustle it did in the 1950s, but Kimble says the nostalgia is part of what has kept his family in business.
“A lot of times when the store is backed up, a conversation is started and it’s usually, ‘I used to come in here years ago,’ and the other person says, ‘Oh yeah, my dad used to bring me here as a kid,’” Kimble laughed.
The Shoppe has its regular local customers, but Kimble says he regularly ships the nuts to Charleston natives who have moved elsewhere to surrounding states, across the country or even overseas.
“We’re small-town type stuff,” Kimble said. “I know a lot of people’s names when they come in.”
But for those who don’t know of The Peanut Shoppe, Kimble says he keeps the door open for a reason, hoping to lure in curious customers with the shop’s nutty aromas.