“Manning began her downtown career sweeping the sidewalk of Broad Street as a young teen while working in the family business,” said Barbara Ware, chairwoman of the Downtown Development Authority outreach committee.
Greene’s Jewelers is the longest continuously operated business in downtown, having opened on Broad Street 64 years ago.
“I still sweep the sidewalks in front of the store just for the pure joy of it,” Manning said. “I’m privileged to serve some fourth generation customers. The jewelry business is a joyful business to be in. We’re privileged to participate in the happiest events in people’s lives. Thank you so much for this, you’ll never know how much it means to me and the staff.”
The award is named after former City Commissioner Bill Fricks, a lifetime supporter of the downtown area.
The Quality of Life Award was presented to the Business Improvement District organization, chaired in 2012 by Bob Blumberg of Johnny’s New York Style Pizza. BID approved a building improvement program and allocated $60,000 for those improvements to make downtown more attractive.
Blumberg saluted the many volunteers who serve the BID organization.
“My heart is now in Rome. I live in Rome and I plan to stay in Rome,” Blumberg said.
The Economic Partnership Award was presented to Jay Shell and Jeff McGowan for their Brewhouse Music and Grill project.
Shell said it took him quite a while to convince his longtime friend McGowan to partner with him on the project. McGowan, who is a nurse by profession, has also moved to Rome from Alabama and become active in the operation of the new restaurant and nightclub venue.
The Golden Nail Award for a renovation project in downtown went to Swift & Finch Coffee House, located at Sixth Avenue and Broad. Longtime friends Ellie Mahon and Abbie Mitchell operate the business, however neither was able to be on hand to accept the award Friday.
Judge Greg Price received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Price has been a veteran volunteer with the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation and Rome Area Council for the Arts for years.
Price said he was just one of many people who have moved to Rome and fallen in love with the town. “There are just hundreds of you that make this town what is and why I love living here,” Price said.
The first Downtown Coffee Break of 2013 will be at the Brewhouse Music and Grill on Jan. 25.