Papania Produce is one of the oldest continuously operated businesses in Lexington and is a major source of the fruits and vegetables served throughout the Bluegrass.
In 1889, Guiseppe Papania, a young immigrant from Palermo, Sicily, opened a fruit and vegetable store on South Broadway near where the Civic Center now stands. By the time his two sons, Joe Jr. and Sam, were barely teenagers, they were working full-time in the store. In 1927, a three-story warehouse with modern refrigerated storage rooms was completed on Old Vine Street. Guiseppe later retired and Sam Sr. became the driving force behind Papania's until his death in 1967.
In 1968 Sam Sr.'s sons , Sam Jr. and Joe III, then moved the company to a site off Winchester Road, due to urban renewal and the removal of the railroad tracks in downtown Lexington. Joe's two sons, Bill and Jeff Papania, ran the operation until Bill's retirement in 2014. Jeff Papania continued to oversee the company's operations in its new location on Jaggie Fox Way until his retirement in 2016.
With over 35 years of industry experience at Papania Produce, General Manager John Michalski now leads operations.