Scenes from Lowell: 2023 Winter Gathering Edition

All photos by Bruce Doll of Images of Vision.

It seems as though there is little to look forward to in that cold stretch of winter that happens from January to March, but the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce brightens up an otherwise dull time of year with its annual Winter Gathering of the Membership. Despite the name, it’s an event that is open to the public and a time for everyone to come together and recognize those individuals and businesses who help make Lowell special.

The Fairway of Kent County was packed on for the event which was held on Thursday, February 23. Things kicked off with a social hour that featured food from Miss P’s Catering and music from the Easy Idle String Band.

When it was time for the program to start, Executive Director Liz Baker began by introducing and thanking the many people who help make the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce a success. Then, the ever entertaining duo of Rick Seese and Cliff Yankovich took over as MCs for the presentation of awards.

In the Non-Profit Spotlight this year was the Fallasburg Historical Society, with the honor accepted by President Craig Fonger.

While the society is not new, it has ramped up activities in recent years to make more people aware of the Fallasburg Village, a hidden gem located just past the Fallasburg Covered Bridge. It held an inaugural Fallasburg Village Celebration in 2022, and you can expect to see a repeat of that successful event this summer.

Then it was time for the Brick Awards, and there were quite a few this year. These honors go to businesses that have made a significant capital investment in the community, either by renovating their current facilities or building new ones.

Eric Springer, shown above, accepted a Brick Award on behalf of Brookstone Investments which has spruced up  309 E. Main Street  in the historic downtown.

Betten Baker is no stranger to Lowell — or Brick Awards. The company received a Brick Award in 2020 for the new showroom they built for Betten Baker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. This year, they were back for their new showroom down the street at the Betten Baker Buick GMC dealership. Director of Operations Charlie Jeffrey accepted the honor.

Culver’s of Lowell was one of the most anticipated new businesses of last year, and the restaurant received a Brick Award for its investment, which placed a building on a long vacant lot. Owner-operater Steve Stephan accepted the honor.

However, no business has made as big an investment in Lowell as King Milling Company. The family-owned mill is in the midst of a $42 million expansion, the largest in Lowell history. Chairman Brian Doyle accepted the Brick Award on behalf of the company.

In the Best Business to Watch category, Sabor Mexicano walked away with the award. The eatery has come a long way from the days when it was literally serving food in a parking lot along Main Street. Today, you can enjoy a sit down meal in their restaurant at 109 Riverseide Street.

Meanwhile, the Most Promising New Business was Retro Electric Arcade which, speaking of long winters, is a good place to pass the afternoon when the weather outside is disagreeable. Co-owner Nicole Crocker is shown above accepting the award.

The Business Appreciation Award went to PFCU and was accepted by Eric King. This award goes to a business that has gone above and beyond in its support of the community through volunteerism, monetary support of community organizations and activities and employment opportunities.

Finally, it was time for the award everyone was waiting for: Person of the Year.

Liz Baker has never looked for accolades and recognition, but she got it on Thursday night as she was feted for her nearly 30 years of leadership at the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.

Liz is retiring from her position this year, but her legacy will be felt for years to come. Going forward, she leaves the chamber in the capable hands of incoming director Shannon Kennedy (shown above with Liz).

Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s awards. You certainly light up Lowell!

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