Gatlinburg businesses look to rebuild after massive fire
Four downtown Gatlinburg businesses are picking up the pieces, after a fire Sunday morning destroyed their building.
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - Four downtown Gatlinburg businesses are picking up the pieces after a fire Sunday morning destroyed their building. China Bazaar, Pucker’s Sports Grill, Gifts of Gatlinburg, and Café 420 were all deemed a complete loss.
Cleanup continued Tuesday, with crews piling up rubble near Traffic Light 6 on the Gatlinburg Pkwy.
Some of those businesses told WVLT News they have a long road ahead as they wait on insurance adjustors to calculate their losses.
“We were still asleep when it happened. We got a text message. The first thing you think is, ‘Is this real?’,” said Tyler Neddo, a longtime employee of Café 420.
Neddo said total shock is the only way to describe how he feels. Nearby businesses feel the same.
“Being that we’re neighbors with these people, it’s people that we love. It’s community and people that have jobs. We’re here to rally and support those people until they can get back up on their feet,” said Laura Rippetoe of the Gatlinburg Inn.
Rippetoe hopes the destruction isn’t there much longer and all businesses lost can return. “It’s sad. It’s hard to see. Our Gatlinburg Inn was built on family and community. Any time our community suffers a great loss or devastation like this, it impacts everybody,” she said.
As for Café 420, they have plans to rebuild, and their employees will keep their jobs. If the new location isn’t in Gatlinburg, it will definitely be in Sevier County. “I’m hoping at this point, it’s going to be pretty quick. Maybe within the next year, we’ll see some kind of progress come together,” said Neddo.
Until they’re able to return, Neddo hates to see the Gatlinburg Parkway location gone, but he hopes the next place will be even better. “I think we’re all just going to come back and rebuild stronger than ever,” he said.
The cause of the fire has still not been determined. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Gatlinburg Fire Department and Gatlinburg Police Department officials are investigating.
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