Thursday, October 15, 2015

Promoter of Grove: Lebow earns honors as 2015 Grand Lake's Most Inspirational Woman

Sharon Lebow
Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller •

An ingenious person, who is always working to find ways to promote Grand Lake and Grove.

That's how the 2015 Grand Lake's Most Inspirational Woman is described in her nomination for the honor.

On Saturday, at the beginning of the Fourth Annual Grand Lake Women's Fair, long-time Grove businesswoman Sharon Lebow will be honored as this year's inspirational woman.

"Her mind never stops working on how to make lives better," said Pam Sitton in her nomination of Lebow. "She's a gifted, natural promoter. She's done nothing but promote this town and community.

"If I had to list all of the nice things she's done for people it would surround Grand Lake."

Lebow moved to Grove 36 years from southwest Missouri in order to be near family. She worked at Betty Ann Nursing Center and Walmart when she first arrived in town.

After marrying her husband, Jack, within a year of arriving in Grove, she first worked along side him at his motorcycle business. Later, she opened and managed Full Figure Fashions for five years.

After selling that business, she worked at Christy's Holiday Express for a year.

Shortly there after, she opened and operated Victorian Accents, retiring in December after 22 years, to spend additional time with her family.

During that time, Lebow helped organize other small business owners in Grove to establish Grove Area Merchants Association. In her role in that organization, Lebow created the first community-wide Christmas and spring open house events.

"We wanted to find a way to bring people into Grove," Lebow said. "Having all of the merchants involved brought [people] to town and got a variety of people into Grove to spend money.

Since retiring, Lebow has been exploring "what's next" for her future. She is currently studying to become a real estate agent. She dreams of opening a business that helps home owners and realtors stage a residence.

Lebow has also been assisting various organizations with their projects. This spring she worked with the Downtown Revitalization committee with the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce to secure a photo from the Joyce Gibson archives to place in the window of an empty storefront on Third Street.

Earlier this month she helped Har-Ber Village officials organize the second Chuckwagon cook-out fundraiser.

In the next few months, Lebow plans to help Delaware County United Way officials organize the Chocolate Affairé, tentatively set for early February 2016.

"We're planing some really cool stuff," Lebow said, as she described plans for the venue and t-shirts which she hopes to have available for purchase.

In April, Lebow and Chris Lietzke worked together to create 2,000 visitor packs which highlighted local attractions and local businesses. The packets were then distributed to the hotels/motels in Grove to be given to out-of-town guests.

Lebow and Lietzke funded the first printing; with GAMA and later Grand Saving Bank officials helping to pay for the second and third printings.

"Businesses have had a good response," Lebow said. "It didn't cost [them] anything except the discount [coupon] or what they gave away in the packet.

"It was a win-win for everyone."

Plans for the 2016 edition of the visitor packs are already underway. Lebow and Lietzke hope to set the next printing for January 2016, to be out in time for the 2016 season.

"I really see this town in a different light," Lebow said. "I see the potential for Grove. and I want it to be that. I work to promote Grove and new businesses because I want to see Grove grow."

Outside of her volunteer and career aspirations, Lebow prides herself on being a "great" aunt to her nephew Josh McElhaney and his children, Cooper McElhaney, 3, and Parker Shaffer, 12. She also spends time with her mother Ann West.

Of being named this year's outstanding woman, Lebow just shrugs her shoulders.

"I think it's a great honor," Lebow said. "My Granny always said 'always help where you can.'

"That's the best advice I've been given."

This story initially appeared in the Friday, Oct. 16 issue of The Grove Sun.

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