Sen. Jeremy Cooney honors local black, LGBTQ+ owned small business with state award

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — State Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-NY-56) honored spouses and owners of JonJohn’s Bakery, Jonathan Arline-Keltos and John Keltos, with the New York State Senate’s Empire Award on Sunday.

The New York State Senate Empire Award recognizes excellence in business throughout the state.

JonJohn’s Bakery is a black-owned LGBTQ+ business known for its mac and cheese that has been a family recipe for generations.

"It’s humbling. It’s humbling. We don’t bake for fame; we bake, because it was in my grandmother’s likeness and we just love what we do. So this is humbling. We’re very grateful for this, but we just love baking, said grandson Jonathan Arline-Keltos.

“Today is about more than a famous family mac and cheese recipe Brighton Farmers Market goers line up for every week. JonJohn’s Bakery supports local farmers and vendors and those products are featured in their outstanding food. Small businesses are the heart of our community and JonJohn’s commitment to social causes and working with other small businesses shows that mission-focused ventures can be a model for success," Senator Jeremy Cooney said. As the first Indian American Senator from upstate New York, I know that representation matters, and seeing a black-owned LGBTQ+ thrive in our district only adds to our diversifying population. I am honored to recognize JonJohn’s with New York State’s Empire Award.”

JonJohn’s Bakery has been operating since 1999 and has twice been awarded the Rochester Epilepsy Foundation’s “People’s Choice” Award and the Foodlink Festival of Food "Best Taste” award for their products.