The smell of peanuts, roasted in the shell, is attracting flea market and swap meet shoppers all over the nation. According to Joel Wallins, the owner of Cajun Creole Products, “some of my customers go out there, set up at flea markets, and do a huge business. Shoppers come in to these markets, especially regulars, and that’s their first stop every time.”
Some vendors have a roaster on site. Others just sell the peanuts. A key part of selling is drawing customers to the booth, and that means giving customers something interesting to look at, like a roaster or a peanut grinder that makes peanut butter. However, the product also works without the roaster, especially selling the seasoned peanuts, says Wallins. Either way, the product moves. “These guys are going through lots of peanuts. One guy goes through about a ton a weekend,” he says. “A new vendor could probably do a few hundred pounds in a weekend.”
According to Wallins, The S&R Portable, with a 23-pound capacity, is the best choice for swap meets, farmers markets and flea markets. This roaster is especially convenient when there is no electricity provided because it runs off a car battery and a propane bottle. Salted and seasoned peanuts can be kept in a warmer, while unseasoned nuts work best in a roaster.
Richard Morris, a peanut roaster professional with extensive swap meet experience in California, says that the product works well in a swap meet setting. “Peanut roasters are outstanding out here,” he says. “They do very well because peanuts are part of the Mexican culture, like popcorn is in the United States. We do very well because of that. It is a cultural thing, especially at Christmas.”
The product brings buyers back for more, he adds. “Most of your business will be repeat customers. If they like your peanuts, they’re going to come back every week.”
He also mentions that a large venue is a key sales driver. At the Bel-Air Swap Meet in Bloomington, Calif, nearly 10,000 people come through each Saturday or Sunday, Morris explains.
Cajun Creole Products specializes in peanuts. The company has been in business since 1989, and Wallins is an innovator who is glad to help flea market vendors come up to speed. “I came up with a way to season peanuts in the shell, with a Cajun flavor. I realized I was on to something,” he says. For more information, call Cajun Creole at (800) 946-8688 or (337) 229-8464, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.