The year is 1880. Three young brothers from Sicily arrive in Baltimore with the hope for a
promising and more prosperous life in America. Once they have assimilated into the culture,
they decide to start a business of their own. In 1884, the “John Jeppi & Brothers Company” is
founded in a rowhome on the block of 200 S. Sharp St.—right next o Camden Yards. At first,
they only carry fresh produce for sale. After several years, however, they decide to expand the
business into the peanut industry.
Fresh peanuts are ferried just a short distance up the Chesapeake Bay from Suffolk, VA (the
peanut capital of the world) to the Baltimore harbor. From there, the Jeppi brothers take
possession of the raw peanuts, roast them, load them into their horse drawn carriages, and
wander the city streets and markets in search of customers. Baltimoreans are delighted to see
these brothers selling fresh, hot roasted peanuts—a unique and delectable treat for the locals. As
the business expands, the brothers do away with selling fresh produce in order to focus on the
ever-increasing demand for fresh roasted peanuts while also expanding their product line to
include a variety of different edible nuts.
Five generations of the Jeppi family would continue the legacy of these three Sicilian brothers
for almost a century until Tony Jeppi—the last active family member in the business—sold the
company to John Claster in 1964 (i.e., Burt Claster’s brother, a.k.a. the local TV producer who
made “Miss Nancy & Romper Room” for all you Baby Boomers). Four years later, Mr. Claster
passes away and leaves Jeppi in the capable hands of his wife, Mildred. After several years,
Mrs. Claster, however, ultimately chooses to put the business up for sale.
Around the same time, an entrepreneurial couple—Charles and Stella Pavlos—just sold their
own business and are looking for something new and challenging to run together. As they’re
reading the classifieds in the newspaper (pre-Internet era), they come across three intriguing
opportunities: a restaurant, a trucking business, and Jeppi Nut Co. Charlie feels as though he
could easily run a restaurant and confident that he could learn to manage a trucking business, but
he’s hesitant to take over a nut company—something he knows nothing about. Stella, however,
sees the potential in Jeppi Nut and convinces him to give it a shot despite his reservations.
Charlie—with his wife’s encouragement and determination motivating him—decides to take a
chance on Jeppi Nut. In 1974, the deal is finalized and the company is transferred over to
Charlie and Stella—the third and final family to run the business.
Through hard work and dedication, Charlie and Stella build up the Jeppi Nut business and
eventually bring on their son—Ted—as part of the team in 1977. Over the years, Ted learns the
ways of the business from his parents and at various times throughout the years incorporates his
two sisters, brother-in-law, wife, cousins, nieces, and nephews into the company’s endeavors—a
real family affair! Each member of the family has something to bring the table which only helps
Jeppi Nut grow and prosper into what it has become today.
After many years of the company being located downtown, Ted ultimately decides to relocate
from the city into Baltimore County—within a larger building in Timonium which can now
accommodate for a centralized office space, a spacious warehouse, and a welcoming storefront
to match the ever-growing expansion of the business. Everything seemed to be coming together
for the small company with modest roots until one fateful night in the winter of 2017,
when—unexpectedly—a fire broke out in the back of the business. Ted rushed to the scene after
receiving the call from the fire alarm company, and stood helplessly as he watched everything he
and his family had worked for all these years nearly burn down entirely to the ground. If it
wasn’t for the local fire department, everything would have been reduced to rubble and ashes.
At the time, there was talk of what was to become of the family’s legacy in the
business—‘Would this be the end of the road for Jeppi?’ Ultimately, however, Ted and his
family were bound and determined (just like Charlie and Stella in the very beginning) to make
things work and never give up on the vision of this business. After a brief relocation, the
Timonium building was refurbished, equipment was replaced, and within the year the company
was back on its feet there. Just as things were starting to look up, the COVID-19 pandemic
swept like another wildfire throughout the business (and the entire country). Once again, Jeppi
Nut was facing a difficult decision that had to be made over whether or not to continue the
legacy of the family.
The fact that the company survived throughout all these periods of transitions and hard times
is a testament to the great ownership of the company over the years, its dedicated employees, its
long-term suppliers, and—most importantly—its many loyal and appreciated customers
throughout the years. The story of Jeppi Nut speaks truth to the phrase: “What goes around,
comes around.” We pride ourselves on the fact that—just like the Jeppi brothers intended it to
be—you can still find us to be the only place in town where you can get fresh, hot roasted
peanuts and experience the same old-world charm of the company that began with three
immigrants and a dream.