The Peanut Van
The Home Of Australia's Best - And Freshest! - Peanuts Since 1969  
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The History Of The Peanut Van
Everything About Us!
The Peanut Van originally began its life under the name "Murrumba Star" in the late 1960s. It was a simple van outlet for a firm called Kingaroy Toasted Peanuts (which no longer exists) and it operated on weekends at a Kingaroy service station.

A very early photo of The Peanut Van
An early shot of The Peanut Van taken around 1977.
This was shortly after Ruth had acquired the
"Murrumba Star" and added a few signs.

A few months after it started operating, the van was shifted next to Lions Park at the main entrance to Kingaroy (the site it's occupied ever since).

And when a decision was taken to extend it to a 5-day-a-week operation soon after that, our founder Ruth Davis was hired on a 20% sales commission to staff it.

She began working in the van on the 28th December 1969.

How The Peanut Van Was Sold For $100
In the first year of operation, takings were so low that Ruth often only made a few dollars a week (eg: in February 1969 her take-home pay for the entire month was $7.41). And for the whole of the next 8 years that Ruth worked the van, she never even made a basic wage.

So when Kingaroy Toasted Peanuts was acquired by Arnotts Snack Foods in 1977 it wasn't surprising that they thought the "Murrumba Star" operation was completely unviable.

But as an alternative to closing it down, they offered it to Ruth for $100. This price included two hot peanut machines, a drink machine and the Murrumba Star caravan (which by then was looking very much the worse for wear).

By this time, though, Ruth felt she'd gained a good enough insight into customers' needs to take up the challenge. So she borrowed $1,000 from the local bank ("with a lot of fear and trembling", she later recounted), renamed the business The Peanut Van and began to treat it as she'd always longed to.

The Peanut Van Comes To Life!
The Peanut Van's
Mission Statement

• To stock only the highest quality peanuts and souvenirs

• To treat our customers as the valued people they really are

• To provide our service 7 days a week

• To never settle for second best!

Ruth used her seed capital to get the van painted, quickly introduced several new peanut lines and began stocking souvenirs. She also introduced the policies shown at right (which we've stuck to ever since):

Ruth's friends and family pitched in to help her and by the end of the first year Ruth found she was (finally!) making a very basic wage out of her venture.

The new lines she introduced also proved popular.

So three years later - in 1980 - she was able to retire the venerable "Murrumba Star" and replace it with the present van, which was custom-built to her own specifications. She also introduced The Peanut Van's first logo (see picture below) and began marketing the business in earnest around this time.

Floods, Droughts, Moving Orders...
A very early Peanut Van sign
The first Peanut Van logo appeared on a roadside
sign soon after Ruth purchased the business from
Arnotts Snack Foods.

By 1983 The Peanut Van had grown enough to be turned into a company. But in 1984 the van was flooded out twice and broken into several times. Worse, failed crops that year meant that Ruth had great difficulty obtaining enough peanuts to meet her demanding quality standards.

So in 1985, The Peanut Van began buying and preparing its own nuts (rather than simply retailing other people's peanuts). This gave us complete quality control over all our peanut products for the very first time.

The next year, though, Ruth had an accident which left her with a permanently injured foot. So rather than do everything herself (as she'd mostly been doing up to that time) she took on extra staff to handle the serving and packing.

Fortunately, by this time word had spread about The Peanut Van's extraordinary peanut lines and turnover rose right along with the new staffing levels to cover everything. This also created several new jobs in a town that desperately needed them at that time.

In 1987 the road in front of the Van was widened and the former Kingaroy Shire Council suggested The Peanut Van should relocate. However, Ruth was able to persuade the Council that the Peanut Van should simply shift onto the footpath instead (which is where it is today).

The reason Council agreed was that by this time The Peanut Van had become one of the best-known sights in Kingaroy. And because of Ruth's vision, it was also one of the area's major sources of tourist information.

The next year, though, the Minister for Police gave Ruth 24 hours notice to shift the van after an anonymous complaint about its location was made to the Department of Main Roads. Again, Ruth fought the decision and won.

Mail Order And A Whoe New Look
The new-look Peanut Van of 1991
The Peanut Van as it appeared in 1994 after a
complete make-over of The Peanut Van logo
and our Kingaroy site.
In 1989 Ruth began The Peanut Van's now-famous mail-order business after repeated requests from customers.

This new service took off like a rocket and within 12 months of its introduction Peanut Van customers from all over Australia who'd discovered the van by chance on a trip through Kingaroy found they were now easily able to re-order the best peanuts they'd ever tasted without needing to make a return visit.

And in 1991 Ruth began a three-year complete makeover of The Peanut Van's image and marketing which led to our now-famous logo as well as a complete refurbishment of the Van, our road signs, our packaging and all our marketing materials.

This makeover led to The Peanut Van as its now known today!

1999 Ruth Retires... And We Become The Next Generation
Robbie and Chris in 1999
Robbie and Chris Patch as we looked in 1999
when we took over The Peanut Van. Robbie's a
little grayer now but still just as keen!
Ruth finally retired in August 1999 after 30 years growing The Peanut Van. But she was particularly choosy about who she'd allow to take over "the baby" she'd nurtured through three decades of hard work.

In fact, Ruth rejected quite a few offers before finally agreeing to sell to new owners Rob and Chris Patch - a Kingaroy peanut farming family she'd known for a very long time (Robbie's mum actually worked with Ruth in the Van for more than 10 years!)

Even then, before she'd let us take over The Peanut Van she made us swear to maintain the same quality and environmental standards she'd set and to look after her customers and the many, many tourists who visit us each year the same way she always had - or else!

Well, we promised we would (why break a winning formula?). And since we took over The Peanut Van we've tried to build on her legacy by continuing to expand the business ever since.

In May 2000 we opened this website, allowing our customers to order their Peanut Van supplies safely over the Internet for the very first time. This has grown to be so popular that it now dwarfs our traditional mail order business (though we still provide this facility and always will).

Then in May 2005 we opened our second Peanut Van in Childers. And three years later we also relocated our processing from the family farm to a small modern factory on Kingaroy's industrial estate so we could serve our growing customer base even better.


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