A Mountain Top restaurateur has been named the Small Business Administration’s Eastern Pennsylvania District Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Jordan Kotowski, owner of Abe’s Hot Dogs at 315 S. Mountain Blvd., received the award at a ceremony on May 11 as part of National Small Business Week.
Kotowski was nominated for the award by Kristin Sassi, consultant manager, Wilkes University Small Business Development Center (SBDC). It was Kotowski’s devotion to the community that played a big part in his recognition as the region’s outstanding small businessman.
“Jordan is an amazing person,” Sassi said of the 23-year-old Kotowski. “He gives back so much to the community. He’s so dedicated to the Mountain Top community, “she added.
Kotowski purchased the business in 2018 and held his grand opening Feb. 1, 2018, at the age of 19. “He’s the youngest business person I’ve ever worked with,” Sassi noted. “He’s a great person. I’m so happy he’s so successful. “
For his part, community involvement is something that is very important to Kotowski.
“I feel it is most important to give back to the community,” the Crestwood High School graduate offered. “If it weren’t for the community, this place wouldn’t be here,” he said. “This is the best community I’ve ever been part of,” he added.
Kotowski emphasized that he did not seek out the award. “If it weren’t for her (Sassi), I wouldn’t have known about it. I don’t focus on awards, “he said. Kotowski was quick to credit his employees for the success of his business. “This is a team award,” he emphasized. He also expressed his gratitude to the Wilkes SBDC for its help. “They were here at the beginning and helped us through COVID,” he noted.
Sassi said the Wilkes SBDC helped Kotowski with questions and concerns in the opening of the business, licensing a Pennsylvania business, a grand opening event, and COVID funds at levels of local, state, and federal programs.
She praised Kotowski for his support of community organizations. “Over the past years, Jordan has flourished in the Mountain Top community through its continuous generosity to local organizations, fundraisers, municipal police, firefighters, and other community first responders,” she wrote in her nomination of Kotowski for recognition.
Sassi also pointed out Abe’s Hot Dogs’ business success and contributions to the local economy.
“In addition to community involvement, Abe’s Hot Dogs in Mountain Top contributes to the local economic development of the county and state,” she noted. “The business employs one full time individual and six part time employees.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Abe’s employees remained constant, which can be considered a huge accomplishment for the restaurant industry during the pandemic.
In the four years Kotowski has owned Abe’s Hot Dogs, the business has been a visible part of the Mountain Top community as well as throughout the Wyoming Valley. He donated the proceeds from hot dog eating contests to the Think Pink Cancer Foundation, the Sunshine Foundation and the Lustgarten Foundation, a foundation which conducts pancreatic cancer research. He also raised money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center.
In addition, some of the events and organizations the young businessman has made donations to include the Mountain Top Little League, Wright Twp. dog park, Crestwood High School Hoops for Hope, Luzerne County Children’s Advocacy Center, Mountain Top Food Bank, Make-a-Wish, Crestwood football and basketball booster clubs, Rice Twp. Recreation Board, Luzerne County SPCA and the Crestwood Key Club.
He has been a generous supporter of municipal police, firefighters, and other community first responders. In 2020, he bought a pop-shield for the Wright Twp. Police Department. When he was faced with shutting down his restaurant during the COVID pandemic, Kotowski grilled hundreds of hot dogs and personally delivered them to health care providers throughout Mountain Top as well as first responders.
Recently, Kotowski organized a greeting card and gift card drive for veterans who are patients or use the services of the local Veterans Administration Medical Center. The drive resulted in more than 1,000 hand-made cards and more $ 1,000 in gift cards sent to the veterans. “There shouldn’t be just one day (Veterans Day) to remember our veterans,” Kotowski said. “It’s important to pay attention to them every day, not just Nov. 11. ”
Kotowski is looking forward to continued growth of his business. He recently expanded his hours during weekdays and weekends in anticipation of increased business when Malacari’s miniature golf course opens. The golf course will be located immediately behind and alongside his restaurant. “The Malacaris have done a great job. They are great people to work with, ”he said of his neighbors.
Kotowski has also added a hot dog trailer to his business. The trailer allows him to participate in community events like the recent Food Truck Frenzy at Crestwood High School. It also gives him the ability to cater events at homes, offices, and businesses with a full menu.
Jordan Kotowski, owner of Abe’s Hot Dogs, Mountain Top, accepts a commendation from Isabella Henry of Sen. Pat Toomey’s office.
Chris Garza of Congressman Matt Cartwright’s office presents a commendation to Jordan Kotowski.
Jordan Kotowski receives the US Small Business Administration Eastern Pennsylvania 2022 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Steve Dixel, District Director, SBA Eastern District Office.
Jordan Kotowski, foreground, prepares an order with the help of his cook Jordan Bowen.
Jordan Kotowski with his staff and family. From left, Lillianna Ashby, Adele Dougherty, waitresses; Gina Kotowski, mother, Jay Kotowski, father, Jordan Kotowski, Jordan Bowen, cook; Gabbi Frask, Jordan’s girlfriend, and Joanne Zuba, waitress.