Peoria local shining his way into the soles of the city - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Peoria local shining his way into the soles of the city

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"1946 when I started shining shoes it was only 25 cents," says George Manias of George's shoeshine.

It all started in a one chair barber shop back in 1946. Here he is now in 2016 celebrating his 70 years of work. 

From president Ford, Reagan, Bush and even Barack Obama and Joe Biden have all made their stops into George's shoeshine, but his brother says George doesn't care about status.

"He just treats everybody the same. I don't care if they've got a million dollars or just enough money to get a shoe shine," says, Manny Manias, George's brother.  

Ray LaHood and George have been friends for well over three decades. He says when world known politicians are in town their first stop is to get a shoeshine and to meet one of the great small business people of central Illinois.

"Hard work, determination and showing up everyday means and that really is the definition of a small business. He's the classic small business for Peoria," says, Ray LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation. 

George runs his business by himself everyday. When asked what makes the perfect shoe shine he says he couldn't give away all his secrets, but he did say one thing.

"The best shine you can do is by can use your hands. That's why people come to me, because they get the best shine in Peoria and any place else," says, George Manias.

From a poor immigrant, to now, a Peoria icon. George Manias would shine two hundred shoes a day. Today he shines around a twenty a day, Monday through Friday.

George Manias says he will continue to run his business as long as he can. 

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