Picture it! 1880! Three young brothers leave their Sicilian roots to embark on a new journey. They immigrate to Baltimore where they have relatives who find them jobs and teach them English. By 1884 they know enough English to start their own business. They decide to open a produce store. They name it "John Jeppi & Brothers." It is located on the 200 block of South Sharp Street among a strip of houses which have been converted into a large produce market.
Four years pass and although the business is doing well, they decide to switch from produce to peanuts in the shell. They purchase a peanut roaster and decide they will sell the peanuts piping hot to their customers. Each week the peanuts come into Baltimore's harbor on large old bay line ships from Suffolk, Virginia. The Jeppi brothers load bags of peanuts into their horse drawn wagon, roast them in their peanut roaster, and then serve them piping hot to their customers. Five years pass and the business escalates allowing them to purchase two additional roasters and expand their product line to include all types of nuts.
In 1970, after a wonderfully successful run, the youngest brother, Tony Jeppi, decides to sell the company to the Claster family. (If this name sounds familiar it is because Mr. Claster's brother, John, was the producer of the popular children's TV show, "Romper Room"). Mr. Claster is a Baltimorean married to a native of Brooklyn, New York. In 1970, the couple changes the name to "Jeppi Nuts" and moves the business to 312 North High Street.
Sadly, soon after they purchase the company, Mr. Claster dies, leaving the company in Mrs. Claster's hands. She continues to run the business but decides she wants to return to New York to be closer to her family. In 1973, she places an ad in the paper listing the company for sale. It just so happens that a couple named Charlie and Stella Pavlos are in the market for a business. Stella finds three businesses in the paper for sale that day: a restaurant, a trucking company, and a nut factory. Charlie decides he knows enough about running a restaurant, very little about running a trucking business, and absolutely nothing about running a nut factory. Stella decides she has had enough of the restaurant business, thinks trucking sounds terribly dull, and the nut business rather intriguing. As you might have guessed Charlie and Stella purchase Jeppi Nuts from Mrs. Claster and on February 1, 1974 they are officially the new owners.
As luck would have it, that same year Jimmy Carter gets elected the new president of the United States. Because the Georgia native owns large peanut farms, the press labels him The Peanut King! Peanut sales soar at Jeppi Nut allowing Charlie and Stella to expand the company from nuts and a few assorted candies to nuts and twenty five assorted candies! And the name of the business is changed to "The Jeppi Nut & Candy Company."
Stella's intuition paid off as The Jeppi Nut & Candy Company has been passed down to the next generation. Their children Ted and Marina have expanded the company to include not only retail, but a huge line of wholesale products. In 2002, their niece, Liz, also joined the company, adding yet another generation of family to the long Jeppi history! And just like the Jeppi brothers of one hundred years ago, The Jeppi Nut & Candy Company retains the old world charm in the retail store where customers can still buy a bag of freshly roasted hot peanuts!
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