A block away from our offices, at the corner of Gay and High Streets in downtown Columbus, you will find Planters’ Peanut Shoppe. Outside this establishment is a vintage neon sign of the sophisticated Mr. Peanut, complete with top hat, monocle, cane, and spats. Inside is a shop that looks like it hasn’t changed much since the 1940s. There are glass counters with different kinds of nuts and candies, and a cash register. You pick your treat and order your quantity and they serve it up for you, and if you want you can walk out of the store munching on a handful of honey coated almonds or fresh roasted pecans. It’s a great place to visit before a holiday or a ball game. It really smells good in there, too.
Columbus is one of those cities where, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many downtown buildings were torn down and replaced by surface parking lots. Planters’ Peanut Shoppe, and the dapper Mr. Peanut, somehow managed to avoid the wrecking ball and lived on to service the sweet tooths and nut cravings of downtown office workers. Now, as city planners hope to make downtown Columbus more residential, Planters’ Peanut Shoppe is one of those quirky places that make the downtown cityscape more interesting and fun. I’m glad it survived, and I imagine our civic leaders wish they had a few more quaint shops with neon signs of iconic cultural figures and a few less boring asphalt expanses in our downtown neighborhood.