Baldwin High grad becomes restaurant owner

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How does a Bulgarian-American ultimately end up selling Japanese food in Milledgeville, Ga.?

Well, it wasn't a direct route. Ivan Manoylov, Baldwin High Class of 2009, worked for several years after college as a sales manager for an international construction supplies company based in Atlanta. Burnout eventually set in, and Manoylov decided that it was time for a change. So, he took a deep breath, came back home and financed a restaurant in downtown Milledgeville.

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Manoylov officially became the proud new owner of SHIMA in Milly on Sept. 7, 2021. The restaurant, previously Kuroshima, largely has the same menu and concept. Kuroshima originally opened in Milledgeville more than 20 years ago inside of the old Hardee's building at the corner of North Columbia Street and Roberson Mill Road, which has since been torn down and replaced with a Walgreens Pharmacy. The restaurant, which introduced Baldwin County to Yum Yum Sauce, later moved downtown and into its current location on Hancock Street across from the courthouse. 

Manoylov was a multi-year starter for Head Coach Jesse Hicks' football team and known as "The Bulgarian Bulldozer."

"I'm kind of blessed that everything fell into place," said Manoylov. "I knew the Parks, the previous owners, from my time working at The Brick...They were really excited that it was being sold to someone local who had ties and wanted to see Milledgeville grow."

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