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Pioneering Mother, Daughter Lead Lifetime of Success in New Lenox

Betty Dunn and her daughter, Judy Niemann, were recently given the Lifetime Chamber Award by the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce.

Local realtor Judy Niemann says her favorite part of the business is the people.

"It's always wonderful," she said. "Especially here, so many people are here for a lifetime. We're selling to people's children and grandchildren who we originally sold to."

Niemann would know about spending a lifetime in the New Lenox area—her mother, Betty Dunn, got into the real estate business in 1958. Her daughter followed, and now the two run , which last year relocated to a new office on Francis Road.

Recently, the mother-daughter combo was honored with the Lifetime Chamber Award from the .

Dunn, 90, started the business out of her home, located on a 160-acre farm in which she still lives. At the time she was the first female realtor in New Lenox and one of only a few in the area.

But she was successful early on, and continued to promote women in business by starting the Lincoln-Way Area Women's Business Organization with her daughter. That group's primary purpose is to raise money for scholarships for Lincoln-Way women who want to go to college or continue their education.

"I enjoyed seeing my mother’s success," Niemann said. "It seemed like a natural fit for me to follow in her footsteps."

Over a lifetime of work in the area, Niemann said the selling points for New Lenox haven't changed much: It's a quiet town near the big city with strong schools. But lots of growth and additions like the Silver Cross Hospital are new benefits, she said. Over time, the way business is done has changed greatly.

“The business has changed extremely," Niemann said. "Business was done with a one-page contract and a handshake. It was a very trusting time.”

What hasn't changed over the decades is the bond between mother and daughter, and the love for this community that's kep them successful. Niemann was honored as Citizen of the Year in 2011, and her mother was honored as Woman of the Year in the ‘90s.

“It's been wonderful," Niemann said. "We’ve always been best friends. She’s been my mentor and she’s helped me all along."

Doug Hoag February 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM
A well deserved award for two wonderful people!!
BRW February 27, 2012 at 01:43 PM
You just can't find people better than them.
Leslie Krajack February 29, 2012 at 06:37 PM
What a well deserved tribute. I'm so happy for you both

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