More investment is planned in `positive’ Felixstowe
PUBLISHED: 08:43 06 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:43 06 October 2017
Mannings Amusements has been at the heart of the holiday and tourist trade in Felixstowe for decades.
Now, with a new spirit of optimism in the tourist trade in Felixstowe, following improvements to the seafront gardens and the new Pier having been opened, a wind of change is also blowing through the town.
And a programme of improvement and investment is taking place at Mannings on the seafront.
The amusement centre is still a family owned business, now into the third generation.
It is run by brothers Charles and Johnny Manning, on behalf of mother Sarah.
The two brothers are joined in the new Copas Bar venue by business partners Andrew Bales and Daniel Henshaw.
Charles is the third Charles to be involved in running the business, after his father and grandfather who were both named Charles.
The latest new development at Mannings was the opening of the Copas Bar, retro-themed, on the first floor at the weekend.
Saturday was also Charles’ 40th birthday, making it a double celebration.
Charles said: “This latest project started in April. We wanted to make sure we got everything right before we opened to the public.
“Copas Bar will be open through from Wednesday to Monday each week, and closed on Tuesdays for maintenance.
“We think this is a great concept, and one that could be taken elsewhere, with the right team.
“We have a very good strong team here, which is difficult to replicate everywhere, to keep everything to the same high standards of cuustomer care.
“We aim to attract an older crowd to this end of the town. There will be no loud music and DJS.
“We want to appeal to one market, and not to everyone.”
The Copas Bar has antique style furniture and Chesterfields, palms and framed vintage photos. Many of them feature the original Charles Manning, his grandad, with various celebrities from his Variety of Club of Great Britain days. I spotted Roger Moore and Paul McCartney in them.
Charles Manning was a travelling showman who put down his roots in Felixstowe from the 1930s.
Charles, his grandson, is a member of the Felixstowe Tourist Group, which is working to promote the resort, and attract more visitors.
He said: “This is the right time to open the new bar.
“Felixstowe has had a massive uplift. There is a lot of positive things happening here, like the new pier and new housing developments planned, which will be good for the town.
“Felixstowe is on the up and up. The is a buzz and a real positive vibe about the place.”
A complex the size of Mannings needed constant updating and maintenance, he said.
“We have replaced the felt flat roof and we have been re-painting the outside, with a new colour scheme.
“The kiosk operators have invested in new facias etc.
“We are also looking at changing a few of the rides for next year.”
“In the early days there were animals here; a monkey island at the back and even a lame lion. I think they used to let him out for the publicity - marketing was different then.
“There had been a nightclub here before, but times changed in Felixstowe.
“They are improving now, with the growth of the Staycation, and long weekend breaks. People are investing in development Felixstowe again.”
At Mannings the Sunday Market remains popular, he said.
“It is every Sunday and Bank Holiday, and we also have 20 shop units, and some of them open during the week too.
“There is a good range, from a butchers to vintage and collectables, a pet shop, fruit and veg and flowers.
“On a nice Sunday it is really crowded here.”
The Copas Bar was just a start, he said. The next stage of the development was to add a balcony along the front, with a glass ballustrade.
“There will be double doors out to the balcony, and great views across the beach and out to sea,” he said.
“A place to relax and just watch the world go by.”