Charlie Joseph’s, the longest-run family business in LaGrange and third largest hot dog eatery in Georgia — behind Nathan’s and Nu Way — has been passed down once again.
The family business started in 1920 on Main Street, later moved to Bull Street, by Charlie Joseph Maloof after he had started selling five-cent hot dogs at his fruit stands.
The business is now in its fifth generation of Joseph’s ownership, with Steven Keeth now owning the Bull Street location. Steven Keeth is the son of Joey Keeth, and grandson of Charlie Joseph. Joey Keeth bought the Bull Street location from his uncle in 1985 and opened the West Point Road location more than 20 years ago.
Steven Keeth bought the location from his father Jan. 1.
“I’ve been doing this for 41 years and I was looking for a little relief,” said the elder Keeth. “At this point of time Steven’s old enough and he’s been doing it for years. There is nothing that can happen that he won’t be fine with.”
Steven Keeth has worked at the family business since he was 12 years old. Now 39, he still treasures and values the business.
“I’m excited and and humbled,” Steven Keeth said. “We do all we we can to make people feel welcome and they become a part of our family. We know customers by name and it’s good to see generation after generation come in.”
It was rumored that the business was closing down after a Facebook post was made in September about the uncertainty of the business. Joey Keeth said the post was made out of frustration with parking on Bull Street for the customers. He has found parking to be an issue due to other business owners and employees taking up spaces that customers should be using.
Despite the parking complications, Joey Keeth is excited about bigger plans for the company. He said franchising plans are in the future, and he has marketed his spicy tomato relish and is currently awaiting the jars and labels for it. They will be sold at the Charlie Joseph’s locations soon, and Joey Keeth would like to have them sold in stores eventually.