Manny Flavors to lick again

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Manny Flavors has had a tough year, but if all goes well he'll go back to licking his ice cream cone soon enough.

Manny, the giant fiberglass mascot that has stood in front of the Eskimo King ice cream shop on Market Street since the place opened in 1958, was struck by a car one rainy morning last August. The collision — a woman pulling into the parking lot was rear-ended, pushing her car into Manny just hard enough to break his base — sent him sagging slowly toward the asphalt and caused some structural damage.

After being taken down, Eskimo King owner Nancy Diemoz had him taken to United Collision Center on Market Street in Warren, where mechanics set to work fixing him. They stripped him, did some fiberglass work and reinforced his lower body before giving him a few new coats of paint. Meanwhile, a new concrete base was built for Manny back at the ice cream stand.

"We're hoping to get him back within a week or so," said Ms. Diemoz, who is planning ice cream giveaways and other treats for Manny's unveiling ceremony.

Ms. Diemoz grew up in Warren, used to work the window at Eskimo King and finally bought the business in 2000 from its former owner and her former boss, Mario Paradiso. Manny was always there and over the years he's become a landmark.

"I'm glad he's going back up. So many people miss him. He's such an icon, and people have been asking since August what was going to happen."

Manny had an interesting history. Workers at United Collision found many layers of paint on him, and it's clear that while he's holding an ice cream cone in his left hand, he used to be holding something else in his right. Ms. Diemoz thinks it was a mug of root beer.

"Apparently (prior to 1958) he was one of the original A&W Root Beer boys," Ms. Diemoz said. "They had a family, two boys, a girl and mom and dad. At one point he was stolen from a bunch of kids, his arm fell off, and he worked his way here."

Mr. Paradiso always told her that Manny came here on a train from California, but his moniker, Manny Flavors, didn't come until much later. "He never really had a name."

That changed a few years ago, when Ms. Diemoz held a contest to name the iconic fiberglass mascot. She received hundreds of responses, some printable, some not.

"We had all kinds of stuff. Stuff to do with jimmies, Mr. Sprinkles, Mr. Lickme, things like that."

"But I like Manny Flavors. It stuck."

Note: A date for Manny's unveiling ceremony hasn't yet been set. But check out the shop's page on Facebook, or see  the stand's website for updates.

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