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Local shop City Peanut pivots, sees online sales increase 600%; second storefront on the way

In 2019, BoiseDev told you about City Peanut Shop’s growth and expansion to a new kitchen off Vista.

Although it continued to grow, the start of the pandemic in March halted store sales and forced owner Dan Balluff to adjust.

“These challenges have made us stop and think, rebuild and energize how we do things,” he said.

Going digital

City Peanut moves sales online during pandemic. Photo via citypeanut.com.

For the past 11 years, Balluff sold his gift baskets, nuts, and beer to in-store and wholesale customers.

“We had not prioritized the online side of our business because in-store and wholesale growth had averaged around 20 plus percent per year.”

So with the help of his son, a professional photographer, and his wife, Dan got to work rebuilding the website just in time for the holiday season.

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“We got busy, trying to make our online presence easier to interact with and to create better curbside pickup and delivery options.”

Dan also posted the online product codes in his window display so customers could easily find them.

“The end result was a 641% increase in web sales. This was amazing, but created it’s own challenges.”

Growing pains

The City Peanut Shop roasts its peanuts in small, handcrafted batches.

Dan said it was a challenge to keep up with the high demand of online sales and commercial demand.

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“This increased the pressure on our kitchen to produce enough product,” he said. “Some days, our shelves were stripped bare.”

Customer support

“I believe that across America, the message of how important it is to support local business, especially in a pandemic has been embraced by consumers.”

He said City Peanut’s relationship with local customers has always been strong.

“However, the love this year has been even stronger and we have had people consciously seeking to buy from us because of our local, small business standing.”

He said he’s grateful for all of his customers from wholesale buyers like Albertsons and Whole Foods and long-standing local ones.

“We have all been supporting each other despite the challenges we all face.”

Looking ahead

Although City Peanut’s sales dropped more than 20 plus percent in the first three quarters of 2020, they ended the year down just a few points thanks to the increase in online sales late in the year.

“Our goal is to continue improving our online customer experience and fulfillment processes and to fully utilize our new kitchen to maintain the momentum we have gained through Covid times.”

In March, Dan said he will add a retail space to the Vista location, in front of the roasting kitchen.

Anna Daly Gamboa, BoiseDev Reporterhttps://boisedev.com/author/annadalygamboa/
Anna Daly Gamboa is a reporter for BoiseDev. She's an Emmy-wining former producer, and a professor at the College of Western Idaho. Contact her at [email protected].

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