Fire's unemployed begin week looking for work

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCIV) -- For many people, Monday is the first day of a five-day work week, but for dozens in Georgetown, Monday began the first full week of unemployment.

"It's a challenge," said Ryan LaConte, who spent the last two months working as a server and bartender for Zest Restaurant. "I'm calling my landlord and creditors and seeing if they could work with me."

Early Wednesday morning, a massive fire destroyed nine local businesses and seven apartments, leaving nearly a hundred people without a job and a dozen without a home.

Despite the devastation, it didn't take long for Zest to find a silver lining.

Peter Scalise is one of the owners of Zest. On Wednesday, He and his business partner watched their two-month old restaurant burn.

"We didn't know what to do as everyone was crying including ourselves," Scalise said.

Oddly enough, a realtor was standing nearby as Scalise discussed possible ways to move forward with his partner.

"I think I mentioned to him, something about maybe we'd look at another location and it happened to be a realtor was standing right there, Rhonda. And, she said hey I have a building right down the street. I said, 'Really?' She said, 'Yea,'" Scalise said.

Within hours, Scalise says he and his partner were signing a new lease for a building just a block away from their old restaurant.

"We've had just every company under the sun that is working with us," Scalise said. "LT Heating and Air Conditioning they've poured their heart. We had a company called Palmetto Painting, they called and said they want to donate paint."

Scalise and others spent Monday fixing the new place up and hope to be serving food within the next 30 days.

"This is a resurgence that I think this town was already, the reason why we even came here was you can just tell this town is ready," said Scalise. "Everyone is pouring their heart and soul into this."

Zest used to employ 40 people. Unfortunately, Scalise says the new, smaller space will only require half of those employees.