- By Matt Sanctis Staff Writer
The Peanut Shoppe has provided customers in Springfield with chocolate-covered peanuts, fudge and other treats for decades and the store’s owners are looking for someone new to keep the tradition alive.
Tim and Laurel Shouvlin bought the East Main Street business in 2013, but Laurel said the store has had a presence in Springfield since around the beginning of the 1930s. Once a franchise location opened by the Planters Peanut Co., Laurel Shouvlin said it has since been operated by a series of owners who remained loyal to the store’s most popular products.
Operating the shop six days a week has kept the couple busy. But it’s been easy compared to operating an organic farm, which was their job for about 15 years before thanking over the Peanut Shoppe. Now, they’re nearing retirement and are looking for a new owner who wants to keep the business going.
“In spite of the economy not being so red-hot, the business has grown,” Laurel Shouvlin said. “And I think there’s a lot of room to grow.”
Along with providing a break from the challenges of working on a farm, the store was a part of the pair’s childhood. Tim Shouvlin has been shopping at the store all his life. And Laurel Shouvlin fondly remembered stopping in for snacks while visiting the store’s former location downtown.
The couple made several improvements when they took over the business several years ago, including interior renovations and improving the refrigeration system. They also added some new snacks that weren’t available previously. Opportunities exist for a new owner to boost business through social media and pushing for more online sales, Laurel Shouvlin said.
The store has done a good job of building good relationships, she said, and keeping loyal customers. The buy-local movement in recent years has also helped draw business, she said.
Many of the neighboring businesses along East Main Street like Our Hero and Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant also have fared well, which Laurel Shouvlin said is a sign businesses can be successful along the corridor.
“If you have something to get people in the door, they’ll be there,” she said.
The store has been on the market since the beginning of the year and the owners have had a few prospective buyers but nothing has been finalized. While it will be tough to leave the business, maintaining the store six days a week makes it difficult for the couple to spend time together.
“You get to know some of the customers and that’s going to be tough to give up,” Laurel Shouvlin said. “At the same time, it will be nice to have the freedom to do what you want to do.”
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