Glenn Kersh had worked in the chain restaurant circuit throughout the Southeast for many years. It was a chance meeting in Evans that eventually led him to co-own the Peppermill restaurant in Columbia County.
Glenn Kersh, the co-owner of Peppermill restaurant, which holds Turkey Fest at Thanksgiving. All proceeds earned by the restaurant are donated to local charities.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
While looking for a part-time job to supplement his income as a manager of the now-defunct Damon's restaurant a few years ago, Kersh met Ling-Feng Tang. Their meeting led to a partnership in the Peppermill restaurant, which is located in the Evans Wal-Mart shopping center.
"I was out one day looking for a part-time day job," Kersh recalled. "I was kitchen manager, but I worked at night. I just happened to run into this cafe in Evans that she was thinking about purchasing. I had seen it in the paper and she just happened to be in there."
Kersh began working for Tang at the Evans Village Cafe, which is now closed. Four years ago, Tang approached him about opening a larger, more upscale restaurant.
Kersh said he jumped at the chance to become a restaurateur and was astounded at how the community took to the Peppermill.
"I've been surprised," he said. "A lot of people come here and they tell us we have a great atmosphere and the food's really great. I just didn't think we'd have this kind of response so soon."
After the restaurant opened three years ago, Kersh seized the opportunity to give back to his community.
He set aside the Monday before Thanksgiving as the annual Turkey Fest at the restaurant. Each year, all proceeds earned by the Peppermill at Turkey Fest are split between the Golden Harvest Food Bank and Columbia County Cares to help feed the hungry. During the past three years, Turkey Fest has raised more than $12,000.
"When I was growing up in Tampa, my mom would take me, and my brother and sister, to a homeless shelter," Kersh said.
"She would make us work there on Thanksgiving and around Christmas. I guess she wanted us to see we didn't have it so bad. She always said, 'If you ever can, try to help other people.'"
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