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Lowville restaurateurs named Lewis County businesspersons of the year

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LOWVILLE — The owners of a downtown Lowville restaurant have been selected as Lewis County Chamber of Commerce businesspersons of the year.

Jeremy A. and Rebecca P. Kelly, who since November 2002 have owned and operated Jeb’s Restaurant at 5403 Shady Ave., are this year’s award winners.

“You always feel like family when you go in there,” said Anne L. Merrill, the chamber’s executive director.

The Kellys were “humbled and overwhelmed” when they learned that they were the recipients of the annual award, Mrs. Kelly said.

“It’s an incredible honor,” she said.

Mrs. Kelly, who previously worked for 10 years as a social worker with Lewis County Hospice, said there are many other county residents who would be worthy of the honor. She said the award represents a “joint effort” of the couple’s family members, as well as employees and customers of the restaurant.

Mr. Kelly is a member of the Lowville Volunteer Fire Department, while his wife serves as vice president of the Lowville Academy and Central School District board and is a past member of the Lewis County General Hospital auxiliary. Both are also active members of the Lowville Mennonite Church, where Mr. Kelly is a youth leader.

“They have a strong commitment to both their community and to family,” said the nomination letter submitted on the Kellys’ behalf. “They could have chosen to open their restaurant anywhere, but they chose Lowville. This is because they believe in this community and the people that live here.”

The letter also noted that the Kellys have helped with many youth sports programs through the years, donated both food and time for different community organizations and hosted a foreign exchange student.

“Whether it is a public event such as the Lewis County Fair, Cream Cheese Festival or an event sponsored by the chamber, Jeb’s is always there to support our community,” it said.

Mr. Kelly, a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, began his culinary management career in several college dining halls.

He spent four years as assistant general manager at Ruby Tuesday’s in New Hartford and another four years as general manager at Applebee’s in Watertown before opening the restaurant here.

The name of the downtown restaurant — previously operated as Stoney’s II and Around the Corner — comes from the first letter of each member of the Kelly family: Jeremy, daughter Elizabeth and Becky.

The Kellys will be honored during a banquet Nov. 21 at the Glenfield fire hall, with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.

The cost is $22 per person.

Reservations and payment are required by Nov. 7 by visiting the chamber office on South State Street, calling 376-2213 or sending an email to donna@lewiscountychamber.org.

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