Luther Hearn Sr. and his brother, Stanley, began the family business in Wilmington, Delaware in 1919 and Chip and his father, Luther, remain in the foodservice industry to this day! Chip opened his first restaurant in Rehoboth Beach while still a college student and soon was operating six fast food franchises. Chip was named Tastee-Freez franchisee of the year and earned numerous silver and gold cone awards from Dairy Queen. "The Ice Cream Store" in Rehoboth Beach has been in operation continuously now for over 40 years and is still packing in the crowds in the "Nations Summer Capital". Chip purchased his first full-service restaurant, the legendary "Country Squire" of Rehoboth Beach, in 1979 and continued to make headlines at the world-famous "Starboard Restaurant" in Dewey Beach!
Peppers actually began in 1980 at the Country Squire Restaurant with the invention of the now world famous "Bloody Mary Smorgasboard" and the subsequent selling of the sauces that were on display. Peppers' first hot sauce, "Dewey Beach Fire", came out in the early 80's and has now been joined by over 200 other sauces and rubs under five different brand names. Peppers has since accumulated over 200 national and international sauce awards and championships. Peppers' cooking team members have also won The Delaware State Championships of wings, salsa, ribs, chili and bloody marys, as well as the American Royal Pulled Pork World Championship. "The Ice Cream Store" has also won the NYCRA world's best new ice cream championship.
Chip has been featured on the TV Food Network, the Cooking Channel, Good Morning America and numerous other national and regional TV shows!
Chip recently was inducted into the first class of the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame as well as:
- Graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia
- Winner of the "Delaware Restaurateur of the Year" award
- Recognized by the National Restaurant Association four years in a row for "Dedicated Service to the Foodservice Industry"
- Past President of the Rehoboth Beach/ Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Currently serving over 30 years on its Board of Directors
- Curator of the world's largest collection of hot sauces
- Past Chairman of the Sussex County Tourism Development Commission
- Former member of the Planning Commission of Dewey Beach
- Past president of the Lewes, Delaware Chamber of Commerce
- Previous member of the Dewey Beach Planning Commission
- Prior member of the Jefferson School Board of Directors
- Past Delaware Pop Warner Football Coach of the Year