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Community helps business that burned down

TUCKER, Ga. -- The employees and owner of a hardware store that was destroyed by fire are learning how much they meant to the community. Handy Ace Hardware was reduced to ashes but from those ashes the city of Tucker has risen.

"I just think it says that we have a great community that we live in here," said Scott Ellenberger. Ellenberger is the manager of The Greater Good Barbecue on Hugh Howell Road in Tucker. He held a benefit for the 30 workers who lost their jobs because of the fire. Thousands of dollars were raised before he ran out of barbecue because of an overwhelming response.

"The response that we got was just incredible," Ellenberger said. "I originally put out one email and put a Facebook post on and didn't really think that much would happen and figured we'd have a few people here."

"I would have never figured that people had that big of an attachment to the hardware store," said Harold Smith, the owner of Handy Ace Hardware. "I'm really proud of the response the community has had to our employees."

On Friday a local church set up a fund for employees of the hardware store. Lawrenceville Road United Methodist Church is accepting checks made out to "LRUMC". Donors should write the word "Ace" on the memo line. All the money will go directly to the workers.

"One day you have a job and the next day 30 people have no jobs, so it's pretty depressing I'm sure for those employees," said Jack Sartain, United Methodist's Men President.

Handy Ace Hardware burned to the ground the Friday after Christmas. Harold Smith said it took a tragedy for him to realize what his employees meant to the community. "It kind of energizes me to get back on the horse and get going," he said. Smith plans to rebuild.

"It had everything in the world you ever would have wanted," Sartain said. "And the people who worked there knew where to find it."

"What they had going on there was something special," said Ellenberger. "It was just a small town feeling that made everybody feel welcome."

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