Gatlinburg businesses moving on from fire, gearing up for reopen

Tammy Sherrod views the remains of her home in the Roaring Fork neighborhood of Gatlinburg, Tenn., Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Residents on Friday, were getting their first look at what remains of their homes and businesses in Gatlinburg, after a wildfire tore through the resort community on Monday, Nov. 28. (AP Photo/Adam Beam)

GATLINBURG, Tenn.  (WATE) – Last week’s devastating fire is a becoming a distant memory for the businesses on the Gatlinburg strip.

“We’re just staying positive and focused on what we do best, so we’re looking to serve the guests the best that we can,” said Heather Gibson, operational director of Kennedy Concepts.

The empty streets of Gatlinburg will fill back up on Friday, but these businesses were working hard Thursday to make sure everything is ready.

“It’s pretty much been one of everything you can think of, whether it’s just cleanup, products, making maintenance and everything is going to be working and setup by Friday, making it as professional as possible like we try to be every single day,” said Joey O’Neill, supervisor of Ripley’s 5D Theater.

They want to make sure no trace of the fire is anywhere to be seen

“We’ve brought in all of the employees. We’ve done a complete cleaning from the ceiling to the floor, everything in between,” said Gibson. “We have a company in right now that’s cleaning up all of the air ducts and air filters and everything like that, just to make sure the smoke smell and anything like that is out of the restaurant.”

Many of the businesses on the parkway didn’t suffer any direct damage from the fire.

“Just mainly a lot of smoke damage and such. No fire damage. Everything is maintained and working properly,” said O’Neill.

Now all they need is help from those who love visiting the Smoky Mountains.

“We would kindly ask that you all come back here and visit us,” said O’Neill. “I know that seems to be asking a lot, but spring break, summer vacation and Christmas is our economy here. If you could please come back, that’s all we can ask.”

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