Concert aims to keep Manny on Zip Strip

“Manny’s Pub was filled with the University of Akron students Feb. 7 in an effort to keep the bar an active participant of the Zip Strip. Manny’s Pub, Chopstix (which rents space from pub owner Many Nemer) and Aroma Coffee Shop have been located on Exchange Street, commonly known to students as the Zip Strip for 20 years, according to Manny.”

Manny’s Pub was filled with the University of Akron students Feb. 7 in an effort to keep the bar an active participant of the Zip Strip.

Manny’s Pub, Chopstix (which rents space from pub owner Many Nemer) and Aroma Coffee Shop have been located on Exchange Street, commonly known to students as the Zip Strip for 20 years, according to Manny.

Tania and Renda Nemer, Manny’s daughters, said their father’s businesses are now threatened. The businesses are located on land that is in the footprint for the construction of the new UA football stadium and residence hall.

In an attempt to prevent this fate, the Nemer’s decided to hold a benefit concert at the pub to raise awareness among students and other local businesses regarding the abuse of eminent domain, according to Tania Nemer.

The family works alongside the Castle Coalition, a group that teaches small business and homeowners how to protect themselves against government and corporate groups that use eminent domain for their gain. In addition to guidance, the Castle Coalition also offers materials such as the signs that were hanging throughout the bar, including the backside of bathroom stall doors, and the stickers that were handed out to all those in attendance.

The benefit concert featured a pop-rock band from Cleveland called Genuine Sun. The band has opened for artists such as O.A.R. and Gavin DeGraw.

Dave Ritz, the band’s lead vocalist, has been impacted by Manny in his own life.

Ritz said many years ago, Manny had introduced several of his friend’s parents, who later married. Without the help of Manny, according to Ritz, a few of his friends may not have been born.

It’s a shame, Ritz said. It’s wrong what they are doing to Manny, especially after the generosity that he offers to his family, friends and the community.

Playing here tonight was the least I could do.

According to Manny, his businesses are built upon family.

But his idea of family is different than most.

Not only does Manny consider his daughters part of his family, but also UA and its students.

According to Renda, Manny has been waiting 25 years for the coming of a stadium and says that she cannot emphasize enough how much we want to be part of the stadium.

It is apparent that many students think of Manny as family also, from the show of support that he received at the concert.

Diana Nikolic, a UA student and employee of Aroma Coffee Shop who attended the concert said, I am here to support him.

Nikolic added that she felt it was despicable and wrong to take the land and space away from Manny and his businesses.

Juan Garcia, another UA attendee agreed with Nikolic, stating that it is unfair to Manny.

It is hard to move and reestablish a business and clientele, Garcia said.

Manny said this fight to stay has become important to him because it is more like fighting for his family.

It is like a part of my family – it is very dear to me and I have a lot of memories here, Manny said. I am here day in and day out.

Manny said he hopes to be seen there for many years to come as well.

He is not giving up on his fight easily. Plans to resist moving include a petition that already contains approximately 3,000 signatures and a protest walk that is scheduled for Feb. 29.

The walk will begin at noon at Manny’s Pub located at 451 E. Exchange Street.
” #1.1361327:3083227972.jpg:20080212_manny_md.jpg:Manny Nemer tends the bar at his pub.:Melissa Dunfee”