Gatlinburg businesses prepare to reopen Friday


The four-lane Parkway downtown usually brims with people scurrying from shop to shop, but this week the main drag through the tourist town has shrunk to two lanes as business owners and Servpro trucks service businesses on either side of the road.

That's the scene as Gatlinburg prepares to open its doors to anyone and everyone Friday, and everyone is getting ready.

Workers inside the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen used their last day of preparation to make more candy, keeping the taffy wheel busy all day.

Owner Patti Edwards said both of her stores along the Parkway and the factory on Ski Mountain still stand and suffered little damage.

“Our roof is bubbled up from the great heat on our factory,” she said. “We have had to throw away all candy that wasn’t sealed, which was a lot of candy for us, but we can’t take any chances. … We are among the very, very fortunate ones."

Edwards said insurance will cover the candy that had to be thrown out. She said people should know the stores and the rest of the city are ready for visitors again.

“People should definitely feel safe, and I think the love of Gatlinburg and the memories of so many (people) will bring them back,” Edwards said. “If nothing else, they’ll want to come see that it’s OK and see what things have burned.”

The Mysterious Mansion in Gatlinburg will open Friday at noon. The building sits along River Road, which is littered with the ruins of businesses, but the mansion no serious damage. Flames got close -- within 4 or 5 feet -- but the building wasn’t damaged.

Office manager Jonathan Fitch said workers bought sprinkler heads and hoses and sprayed fire retardant on the back deck and on the shed in the back, saturating the ground and trees around the building with water.

“We thought it was a loss, completely. We thought it was gone. … It’s incredible, miraculous,” Fitch said.

Ober Gatlinburg will reopen in two phases.

The Downtown Tramway Mall will reopen Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. That includes the Ski Mountain Grind Haus Coffee Shop, the LeConte Deli, Tramway Gifts, the Mountaineer Candy Kitchen, the Silver Galleon, Miss Sadie’s Old Time Photos, Spa to Go and the Green River Gallery, according to a news release.

The Ober Gatlinburg mountain location will reopen Monday. Free regularly scheduled shuttles will depart from the Downtown Tramway Mall, and Ober’s full assortment of outdoor activities will be open to the public.

Ober’s Aerial Tramway will remain closed until it has been fully inspected and approved by authorities, according to the release.

Cameron Caton, the general manager of the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, spent Wednesday afternoon wiping down an Aston Martin DB9, a car made for superheroes and the super-rich. This particular one saw use in the Furious 7 movie.

Caton said the museum suffered a little damage to the roof, but nothing too serious.

“It kind of smells a little bit … a little bit of odor in the air, but not much,” Caton said. “Dust was over everything. We’ve been working to clean it up since Monday. We’ll be ready to open whenever the town is ready to open back up."

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel

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