KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- Prestige Cleaners is one of seven finalists in the "Dream Big Small Business Award" from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The award (to be announced in May,) pays tribute to small businesses showcasing exemplary practices in several areas including community involvement, customer service, and motivation.
Eddie Mannis, CEO of Prestige is known in the area for keeping the needy warm, honoring our vets, and, supporting schools.
Mannis says, "I think it is important as a business owner and a good steward for what has been given to us in this community, to give back to this area."
Every winter, Prestige helps Knox Area Rescue Ministries Coats for the Cold.
Prestige has cleaned over 130,000 coats in ten years, which are then handed out, no questions asked.
"People who do not have an opportunity to have coat and they have a small child in their arms. When they leave with a coat, that's pretty inspiring, " according to Mannis.
Speaking of kids, Knox, Blount and Anderson County schools shave received 45-thousand dollars through prestige's Project Classroom. Customers write on their receipt a school of choice to get the proceeds.
Mannis says, "Giving back to kids in this community and making sure their education excels is important."
Mannis is chairperson for HonorAir Knoxville, they've flown more than 850 world war 2 veterans to see the memorial in Washington. It started in the fall of 2007 and now takes Korean vets to their perspective memorial.
Mannis says, "On every flight I always shed tears. A lot of times they say this is the highlight of their life. And being 85, 90, 96 someone saying this is the highlight, is pretty special (to me.)
Eddie serves on five boards and contributes to many other charitable organizations in the community throughout the year.