Unicoi County

Small Business event helps raise money for burned down Clarence's

ERWIN, Tenn. - A small business is raising funds to help an iconic restaurant in Unicoi that burned down last week.

The Bramble's Small Business Saturday event in Erwin may help rebuild Clarence's Drive-In.

The fire broke out after an asphalt company used a propane burner to clear grass out of cracks in the parking lot. After workers left, some of the embers spread to the restaurant and started the fire.

The fire came as a shock to employees, who were left jobless.

"I was at home in bed, and I had family hear about it on the news,” Clarence’s employee Tammy Hayden said. “They had contacted to see if I was home and ok."

Now, the community is helping them out.

"We're also doing a special fundraiser for the Clarence's employees that lost their jobs," Bramble Co-Owner Sarah Hull said.

The owners of the Bramble added the fundraiser to their Small Business Saturday event when they learned how Clarence's had been affected. The employees say they're grateful.

"What amazes me is the community's overwhelming response,” Clarence’s employee Nevada Bailey said. “It's just been so heartwarming."

They're planning to re-open the restaurant.

"Clarence's is definitely coming back,” Bailey said. “We're going to be renting a building just a little bit down the street. We're hoping to be started back cooking this upcoming Saturday, but you know, give or take a day or two."


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