Popular candy store closes downtown Columbia shop to focus on one large location

The Peanut Man, a trove of nuts, candies, popcorn and all sorts of goodies, has closed all but one of its Columbia stores, including a shop in the Vista downtown.

The business is turning its attention away from small retail shops and now focusing its energy into a 10,000-square-foot factory and full-service cafe, said Chris Hinely, who opened The Peanut Man’s first store with his wife, Carrie, at the Village at Sandhill in 2010.

“There’s so much business going on here, and we’re so busy every day,” Hinely said.

The Lincoln Street store in the Vista, which was located a few doors down from Starbucks and across the street from the Blue Marlin restaurant, closed this summer; the Sandhill store closed about a year ago. The Lincoln Street storefront is vacant and available for rent, according to a sign.

In summer 2018, The Peanut Man opened its massive bakery, chocolate factory and cafe on Fernandina Road, in the Harbison commercial area. It represents major growth for a business that began a decade ago as a roadside boiled peanut stand.

In addition to being a retail store, The Peanut Man now runs an all-day restaurant, catering operation, events venue and wholesale warehouse out of the Fernandina Road location.

“We’re in the food business now,” Hinely said. “Our business model has changed since we moved over here.”

While the smaller retail stores traditionally saw a bump in business around the holidays, Hinely said, the Fernandina operation is “busy year-round.”

The Peanut Man is located at 3905 Fernandina Road. It is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sarah Ellis has reported on Columbia and Richland County since 2014. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism.