John Mansour of Manning Shoes Store was inducted into the hall of fame at the 2019 MidCoast Business Awards.
More than 240 Mid Coast business people attended the event at Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club on Saturday evening, August 17.
The following was read out at the awards night, held at Tuncurry Bowling Club on August 17.
"John was born in Sydney, then, spent a few years growing up in Taree, before moving to Forster with his mum, Noreen, his Dad Tony, and sister, Helen, when he was five years old in 1971. This was when the first Manning Shoe Store was opened in Parsons' Arcade in Wharf Street, Forster.
"Prior to this his grandfather, Baheeg (Bill) Saad, immigrated to Australia from Lebanon. He worked hard at various jobs in Sydney before he and his wife Mary moved to Taree in 1938. He then started a fruit and vegetable business.
"In 1959 Bill expanded this business to include a milk bar and café. By this time he had five children and all were expected to help out in the family business before and after school.
"Bill opened his first shoe store in 1953 in Victoria Street, Taree, with his two eldest children, John and Noreen, running this business.
"Business prospered and they took an opportunity to grow and expand by setting up the second shop in Forster. Noreen and her husband, Tony, ran this new store together, after relocating their family.
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"The business as a whole, continued to excel and expand, and currently Manning Shoes encompasses five stores, giving them the essential buying power to be a sustainable business at a time when pressures on small independent retailers can be crippling.
"A big factor in the success of this business is the work ethic and family values of Bill and his family. Old fashioned personal service and common courtesy are the cornerstones of this business.
"John carries on this tradition today, and is well known in the business community and beyond, for his honesty, hard work, and family values.
"He was not given a choice to work in the business, it was expected. He was not given the opportunity of tertiary study; he learnt all his business skills on the job, with his uncles as mentors. But this has all put him in good stead, as today his business advice is sought after by many, both in the local community and in the broader business world.
"John has had considerable involvement with council matters and served on advisory committees. Without any formal credentials, his views are unique and he has a rare ability to communicate openly and honestly without bias.
"He's never been scared to tackle the hard issues. Through his strong work ethics and values, he's been able to develop important working relationships. He treats everyone as equals, treats his staff like they are family and encourages everyone to rise to their full potential.
"John is always ready to help if able. He's supported many sporting groups in the community. He's supported many charities and events too. He was integral in helping Ross Presgrave establish the Ronald McDonald Forster Beach Cabins.
"He was also an integral part of a team to help all small business in Wharf Street after Stockland was established, by setting up a whole new identity now known as Forster Waterside.
"He was a member of Great Lakes Ironman Triathlon Association, which was the driver of the Ironman triathlon event in Forster for many years. He also helped bring a new event to Forster, the Anaconda Adventure Race, when the Ironman event was lost.
"As an active member of the Cape Hawke Surf Lifesaving Club for many years, he has performed many rescues, both on patrols and as a jet ski operator on call. Whilst he has enjoyed competing in carnivals in the past, now he loves training the younger generations and gains so much satisfaction at seeing them improve.
"He cherishes his family and has worked hard to give his children the best start possible. He's been a brilliant role model for them."
The 2019 Insurance Advisernet MidCoast Business Awards saw Sunrise Supported Living take out the Business of the Year. The event is organised by MidCoast Business Chamber MidCoast Business Chamber which covers Taree, Forster Tuncurry, Wingham, Harrington, Gloucester, Old Bar, Myall Lakes and Bulahdelah.