Over 29 years ago, Kermit Carpenter began selling smoothies from a small stand in front of Papa’s Restaurant in Key West during his tenure as Papa’s bookkeeper. When the head chef suddenly drove off into the proverbial sunset one night, Kermit was left looking for a new adventure. Having been brainstorming with his sister Anita and her husband John, they decided that whatever they decided to do, it needed to be high quality and say “Key West”… gourmet food and Key Lime fit the bill, and so began Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe.
When the shoppe first opened on the corner of Elizabeth and Greene, the price was right, but the location was right across from a sewage pumping station. The good news was that it was also right on the bight – a Key West waterfront area. The City of Key West had great plans for the area. Kermit, Anita, and John all agreed, if we could survive the next few years, the site would be a premier location.
Before the shoppe opened for business, Kermit and Anita drove to Maryland to visit their parents. During the long drive, they made a list of everything they could think of that could contain Key Lime. This list would provide the blueprint for the gradual expansion of Kermit’s Key Lime product line.
Fast-forward to 2003, and Kermit’s was bursting at the seams. John came onboard as Managing Director after his military career, and due to the economies of shipping to our expanding internet customer base and lower manufacturing costs our DeLand production facility and showroom were born. The DeLand location contains a shoppe, warehouse and production kitchen in 12,000 square feet of space. Best of all, in DeLand we have a superb group of folks who make the business run. For the past couple of years, we have been able to invest in a small core of truly wonderful people. They are now the mainstay of Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. From the DeLand location, we not only support our own shoppes, but also ship our website orders and support our wholesale customers.
In 2011, the opportunity arose to stake our claim at the corner of Duval & Front Street, allowing even more Key West visitors the opportunity to enjoy our delicious Key Lime goodness! With 2 locations in Key West, you’re never very far from a slice of key lime pie on a stick, dipped in Belgian chocolate!
2020 brought the Covid pandemic to Key West and the world, necessarily shuttering the island to non-residents for 81 long days. We weathered the storm, thanks to our online store and our loyal customers who needed their key lime fix delivered to their door more than ever! Thankfully, we're now enjoying the return of our beloved guests and look forward to seeing you soon!