Joppy’s opens where ‘Duchess’ used to be

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By John Barnhart

    You’ve probably noticed that building that used to house the Duchess of Bedford has a different name on it – Joppy’s.

    However, if you go inside, it still looks a lot like the Duchess of Bedford. That’s because it is the same business – sort of – under a new owner.
    Catherine Eubank, who owns wJoppy’s, was presented with an opportunity last November. Becky Turner, who owned the Duchess, wanted to sell the business because her health was failing. Eubank, a pastry chef, festival vendor and caterer – her business was called Gruvencat – knew Turner. Eubank was already at a point that she was turning away business because her Gruvencat was too small.
    “This was walk-in ready,” Eubank said of Duchess. “Everything was here.”
    “Everything” included a Hobart standing mixer that she had sold to the Duchess a while back. Now, she has it again.
    The business didn’t miss a beat. The Duchess of Bedford closed on Saturday and Joppy’s opened on Monday. Eubank said the timing was perfect because she was able to get Thanksgiving and Christmas traffic in order to be prepared for what is normally a slow time after Christmas.
    When you walk in, you’ll notice that the case of baked goods still looks the same. But there are differences. All the tables have linen and decorations consist of art from the Bedford Artisan Trail. Eubank also said she wanted to avoid the look of a women’s tea room because that puts off men.
    The focus is also different.
    “We are focused more on the food rather than the bakery,” Eubank said.
    “We serve breakfast all day long,” she said. “That’s our biggest hit, breakfast at night.”
    It’s not just breakfast, of course. Joppy’s has full deli menu and dinner items. Eubank even has vegetarian items. She also has gluten-free pasta and sugar-free deserts for diabetics.
    “We want to make this comfortable for everyone,” she said.
    She’s also flexible.
    “If we don’t have it, I can figure out how to make it,” Eubank said.
    There is no separate charge for groups and Eubank said a lot of local groups are meeting there.
    “We have a great space upstairs for conferences and events,” she said.
    The name “Joppy” came from what she called her grandfather when she was a small child. She couldn’t pronounce “G” when she was very small. It came out like “J.”  Her childish mangling of “grandpa” stuck.
    The grandfather in question was Robert Harper, who co-owned a farm on Patterson Mill Road with his brother, Edwin. Edwin Harper was a pediatrician in Lynchburg and Robert lived on the farm and ran it. Eubank spent summers there and moved there when she was 18. Robert Harper was a Navy veteran and Eubank gives a 20 percent discount to veterans every day in honor of his service.
    Joppy’s hours of operation are: Sunday through Wednesday: 8 a. m. to 6 p. m.; Thursday through Saturday: 8 a. m. to 9 p. m
    Joppy’s also does catering. In addition to 10 years in the pastry business, Eubank has been a professional caterer for 15 years.