Jerry Black receives ninth ‘Flame’Award

PICKENS — “Main Street was a lot different 25 years ago when I moved to Pickens,” said Jerry Black, Pickens’ ninth recipient of the I Fan The Flame award.

As co-owner of the historic Garren’s Café on Main Street, along with his wife and mother-in law, Jerry still greets and visits with new and long-time customers every day. As Pickens has grown and evolved, the cafe breakfast and lunch business is still good, but they are now closed for dinner. The building the café is in was built in 1898 to house the Keowee Bank. In 1928, the bank closed and it has been a café ever since. The Garren family has owned it since the mid 60s.
Jerry was the son of an Air Force dad and lived in a lot of places. As a youngster, traveling through the Upstate, he “fell in love” with the area. An engineer by trade, when an opportunity came his way to work for Singer-Ryobi in Pickens, he welcomed the chance to move where he always wanted to live. He has been full-time in the restaurant business since “retiring” in 1999.

As one of the early members of the Downtown Business Association, predecessor of the PRA, he has watched, in his words, “the big changes on Main Street”. “I would love to see the busy days like we used to have on Saturdays or on Wednesdays when the Flea Market traffic passed through town. But I am excited about the future with the efforts to bring parks, new businesses, shoppers and tourists to Main Street,” said Jerry. “I love the town, this area, the relaxed country feeling and the open and honest people,” he concluded.

In addition to involvement in various associations over the years, Jerry has been very active in supporting the Boy Scouts. He held the position of local Scoutmaster, rose to District Commissioner and still serves on the Troop Committee.

Created by the city of Pickens and the Pickens Revitalization Association, the “Flame” award honors individuals that have supported and contributed to the community in unique ways – those who have demonstrated a passion for making Pickens a great place to live, work and play. The program will be expanded, next year, to recognize the many contributions of various academic, charitable, youth, adult, civic and religious organizations towards “fanning the flame” in Pickens.

I Fan The Flame 2012 Platinum sponsors include the Historic City of Pickens and Great Oaks Dental. East Main Treasures and Pace & Reeves BP, Inc. are this year’s bronze sponsors.