A grocery store that once was a fixture atop Lookout Mountain in Georgia is returning soon, albeit in Tennessee.
Gene Williams, 55, owner of the Mountain Market, said he hopes to open the doors to the new location on North Wautauga Lane no later than Sept. 1.
The original store, which was at 1222 Lula Lake Road, was destroyed by fire Aug. 17.
The Georgia state fire marshal ruled the fire accidental.
“When it burned down, we were overwhelmed with letters and calls,” Mr. Williams said. “My customers are my customers, but they are also my friends.”
Hazel Bell, 48, said she has missed the store and looks forward to when it reopens again.
Staff Photo by D. Patrick Harding -- Gene Williams stands over the plans for the Mountain Market, which is going up on Wautauga Lane on Lookout Mountain.
“It has just been terrible,” she said. “I really, really miss that old store.”
Ms. Bell said she bought all of her meat there as well as a few other staples.
“Now we have to drive down the mountain,” she said. “It’s been very inconvenient.”
Mr. Williams said the new location will have about 4,300 square feet of shopping space in the first floor and office and additional storage space on the second floor.
He hopes it will be similar to the original, complete with a delicatessen, charge accounts and delivery service.
“We are the anti-Wal-Mart,” Mr. Williams said. “Everything that Wal-Mart is, we are not.”
Shelly Vaccaro, owner of the Lookout Mountain Cafe, said it has been inconvenient for many on the mountain after the store burned.
“It has affected a lot of people,” she said. “There are people who can’t get down the mountain. It’s been really inconvenient.”
Mr. Williams said he would have liked to have re-built on the previous site, but because of urging by his insurance company to get started rebuilding, he was forced to find a piece of property on the Tennessee side of the small mountain community. He declined to say how much he plans to invest in the store.
The new site has been cleared and graded, and workers are preparing to begin construction.
“The market has been here a long time,” Mr. Williams said. “We try to be the center of the community.”