- By Matt Sanctis Staff Writer
A Springfield business that’s supplied Springfield residents with locally-made candies and roasted nuts since the 1930s has a new owner who hopes to ensure the store’s success for years to come.
Tim and Laurel Shouvlin have owned the Peanut Shoppe, 1576 E. Main St. since 2013 but began looking for a buyer earlier this year as they prepared to retire. Matt Luther, a longtime Springfield resident, stepped in after reading a story in the Springfield News-Sun earlier this year.
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Luther said he remembers visiting the store with his family as a child, and wanted to ensure the store’s longtime customers continue to get their fix of the shop’s chocolates and roasted nuts.
“It was something I wanted to do,” Luther said. “It’s a fun business and it suits my strength of being in front of customers.”
The store has operated in Springfield since 1937, according to its website.
Planters Peanuts initially opened the chain but the Springfield store switched to private ownership in the 1960’s when the Planters Company sold the company stores. Since then, a series of private owners have kept the store open.
Luther said he’s not planning any significant changes to the store, although eventually he said he’d like to look for ways to boost online sales and some new products could eventually be available. Part of what makes the store so appealing to area residents is its history, he said. He pointed to a large, metal peanut roaster the store has used for decades and still does.
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“At least for the first year it’s kind of steady as she goes,” Luther said. “It’s not broken so don’t try to fix it.”
One of his strengths, he said, is building relationships with longtime customers. He said it’s important for people to know the store will remain open for years to come. Many people have fond memories of visiting the business with their parents or grandparents.
“Listening to everyone tell their stories of the Peanut Shoppe is kind of fun,” Luther said.
Most of the store’s business comes from regular customers who walk in the storefront, but he said there’s potential to boost the online business. Luther said he’ll likely be more active on social media and thinks there’s room for some growth by providing more options online for former Springfield residents who have moved elsewhere but still want to enjoy the store’s products.
“You can get online and order and get a little taste of home delivered to your doorstep,” Luther said.