LIMA — Long lines outside the Allen County election board office have been commonplace of late, but on Tuesday afternoon a line of a vastly different sort was forming one block south on Main Street.
Longtime customers of Dome’s Nut Shop were making one last visit to the Lima landmark in search of nuts, candy and other confectioneries before the business shutters its doors for good on Saturday.
Owner Glenn Dome laughed when asked why he has opted to retire and close the store.
“Now’s a prime time to get out. I tell people I’ve served my time, and I’m being released on parole from the nut house,” he said.
Dome’s Nut Shop has had a presence in Lima for more than 80 years and has been a fixture near Town Square for more than half that run. It’s a third-generation, family-run business that has catered to Lima’s collective sweet tooth since 1938.
Dome said the COVID-19 pandemic is “probably 70%” of the reason he’s closing the store.
“The world has changed, and I want to hopefully travel and enjoy life a little,” Dome said. “I’m not sure if the coronavirus will allow that, so I’m just going to sit back for now and see how things go.”
Dome said that in addition to the worldwide pandemic, forces of nature such as wildfires in the West and increased hurricane activity in the South will impact the availability and price of nuts and drive up the cost of doing business.
It’s simply time to call it a career, he said.
“I’ve enjoyed the work and the business,” he said. “I guess it’s in my genes. Right now I’m just hoping we have enough product to get to the end of the week. The nuts are almost gone, and we’re running out of candy, too.”
Outside the store on Tuesday — customers are limited to two at a time inside the shop to accommodate social distancing — Angela Smith waited her turn. Smith said she traditionally visits Dome’s this time of year “because they have the best candy apples you can get. When I heard they were closing, I was crushed.”
Hortencia A. of Laguna Beach, California, said in a review posted on Yelp.com, “I grew up in Lima, and Dome’s was very much a part of my youth. While my peers were eating candy bars in the movie theaters, I was sneaking in my sunflower seeds or Spanish peanuts from Dome’s.
“The quality and taste of Dome’s nuts is exquisite. I moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and there were nut shops, but the taste was not like Dome’s. The nuts from Dome’s are full of flavor from being slow-roasted, and it is salted to perfection! I received a Christmas gift of Dome’s sunflower seeds, Spanish peanuts and cashews. This was the greatest gift because nut shops are extinct in Los Angeles.”
Jerry Z., of Florida added, “I was just sitting here eating a bag of whole cashews I bought at Walmart and thinking, ‘These are pretty good, but nothing like the ones I got at Dome’s Nut Shop in the ’60s. “
“Can they bottle the smell? Always loved the smell when walking into Dome’s,” said Mary Butler on the “You Know You’re From Lima If …” Facebook page.