Lokomotive connects Jupiter’s past to present


Photo by Mia Risolia

A rustic brick building immersed in a multitude of flowers is situated on the corner of Center Street and the railroad tracks in Jupiter. The Ferro Via building is home to local coffee shop, the Lokomotive. A favorite among Jupiter High students for its ambiance, artwork, boutique and, most importantly, its coffee.

Johnathon Pezzino, a Jupiter High alumnus, and Sydney Jacobson own the Lokomotive and started to explore local businesses to find inspiration for their own coffee shop.

“We got into craft coffee, we kind of became obsessed with coffee, we would drive to shops every weekend, try as many different kinds as we could and we actually started making coffee for our friends at home,” Jacobson said.

Sydney Jacobson and Johnathon Pezzino

The Lokomotive gives the community a place to get work done, hang out with friends, or just enjoy the coffee.

“I like all the artwork, the cool lights on the ceiling and all the weird chairs to sit in. I really like iced coffee,” Allison Donald, senior, said.

Jupiter High student, Jordan Kroyter, senior, explained the calm atmosphere.

“It’s a very relaxed vibe and a very good place to hang out and talk with your friends,” Kroyter said. “It has a very cool setting and feels kind of like a hole-in-the-wall place with a mixture of an art deco.”

The atmosphere and building itself hold sentimental value to everyone involved.

“If you actually go around here, every single corner has something to do with our family. It is something emotional, like those ballet slippers over there, my daughter’s in the basket,” Sandra Pezzino, Johnathon Pezzino’s mother, said.

The Ferro Via began hosting pop-up markets on July 17. The next pop-up market is Oct. 2, with a variety of local businesses in attendance.

“We came up with the idea together based on what the building originally was, the first market in Jupiter, we thought it was a great way to give small business owners a space to show what they do and get their brand out into the community all while honoring the history of town,” Jacobson said.

On Sept. 4, 2019, the Lokomotive opened in a mobile trailer; handing out free coffee and accepting donations to help with hurricane relief after the storm Dorian had hit. On Sept. 23, they officially opened for sales in the trailer. Launching their business from the airstream wasn’t entirely what they had in mind.

“So the airstream concept was while we’re building this big shop, why don’t we build a little one so that we can open up sooner,” Jacobson said.

As of Feb. 18, 2021, Lokomotive officially opened. The Pezzino family had bought the Ferro Via building in 2006 after it caught on fire.

“My father transformed this place and always thought it would be really nice to not just bulldoze it but to make it very special because it has historic values and that’s what led us to this property,” Pezzino said.

Launching a small local business has immense challenges, especially during a pandemic.

“I’d say the most challenging thing would be COVID. It really threw a wrench into things and we’re still dealing with it, things don’t get easier, you just get better at them,” Pezzino said.

In addition to the pandemic, there had been multiple different challenges to overcome, including challenges with finances and local officials. Due to being a new business, the Lokomotive did not receive the same assistance a more established business would receive.

“So we kind of had to almost save ourselves, like being out of work for over almost eight months, not having any income coming in and not being able to show enough business records to receive that,” Jacobson said.

Pezzino and Jacobson, subjugated these obstacles and demonstrated how perseverance and passion kept them going.

“It’s a good reminder to face those challenges and remind yourself anyone who has ever made something happen, overcame anything, reached any level of success has been a motivated person that shows up every day ready to do that, so you’re not different than anyone who’s wanting something. So don’t think that you can’t achieve something if you truly want to get somewhere,” Jacobson said.

They are proud of their success with the Lokomotive, and continue to reflect on their humble beginnings as a reminder of how far they’ve come.

“I think a really funny memory is the volume that we’re doing, it seems very hubris to look back when we would have no customers at the trailer,” Pezzino said. “Maybe one person would come up and order a cappuccino, and Sydney and I would both make that cappuccino together, and that would be the only cappuccino we made all day, [those are] my favorite memories.”

No matter how far they’ve gotten, Pezzino and Jacobson plan on further growing the Lokomotive, as well as growing other small local businesses with them.

“I think the next step is to, you know, fully settle into this space, we have bigger plans, and we want to create these cool, you know, events and pop ups where other small local businesses can have their chance to be seen. So we’d like to host them and show them that it’s possible with our platform,” Pezzino said.

The atmosphere of Ferro Via is made up of artwork by local artists, products from local businesses and of course, the coffee promotes individuality within customers.

“Yeah, I think it’s a safe space. I agree. And I think it’s a safe space for not only artists, for every single person that comes in… like, a note to be yourself. And, you know, it’s okay to be different and funky, so this is a place you can do that,” Pezzino said.

Both Pezzino and Jacobson are ecstatic about the future of the Lokomotive and appreciate being able to make a difference within the community through coffee.

“Just having people show up and want to get something from us and every part of the community, it’s absolutely touching to be a slice in someone’s day, to get to see introverted people come out of their shell while they feel welcome,” Jacobson said.