Nabs for a Nickel
(Through a business largely born by accident)
In 1913, food broker Phillip L. Lance ended up with 500 pounds of Virginia peanuts that he couldn’t use. Instead of returning them to the farmer, Lance roasted the nuts and sold them in small bags for a nickel.
Inspired by his initial success, Lance moved his business out of his home and into a factory on Charlotte’s College Street, where he roasted peanuts and made peanut butter. His wife, Mary, and daughters are credited with first spreading peanut butter between two crackers around 1915.
The Lance company began making its own crackers in 1938, though candy was actually its primary product through World War II. Lance vending machines first appeared in 1954, and the company went public in 1961. Throughout this entire time all of the company’s individually packaged products were sold for a nickel. In 1970, Lance Crackers produced the last of its trademark five-cent items.
Though prices changed, the company continued to be successful, expanding into grocery stores in 1982 and acquiring competitors. In 2010, Lance merged with snack company Snyder’s of Hanover.