Slight change means Georgetown businesses can open doors

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCIV) -- Tuesday was the first sign of relief for a handful of businesses in Georgetown that neighbored those destroyed by fire last week.

As recently as Monday a fence blocked the doors to several businesses on Front Street, but on Tuesday fire officials pushed back that fence about a quarter of a block. It may not sound like much, but it made all the difference for those businesses.

For Ashley Crawford, the after-lunch clean-up at Thomas' Cafe is a bit more intense than it has been.

"We were shut down until Saturday morning," she said. "Yesterday it was just a bad day all around. I think we probably would have done 40-50 more people if this wouldn't have happened."

Like many of the neighboring businesses, Thomas' Caf and Sweeties Chocolate shut their doors after Wednesday's blaze. However, when the stores were ready to be re-opened, a 6-foot fence kept possible customers away.

"If I wasn't here working here, then I wouldn't know they were open because it was completely blocked in front of us," Crawford said.

"It was more like they had to walk down an alley to get back here," said Pat Miller, an employee of Sweetie's Chocolates.{}

Since then, the fence has been pulled back - and the move has already meant the stores are cashing in.

"Today was triple what we did yesterday, just in that little bit. That was probably all days' customers in one shot here today," Miller said.

"Normally we do, we try to do at least a hundred people per day. Today I think we were pretty close to that," said Crawford.{}

It was a simple move with a simple message -- Front Street is open for business.

Officials still have not determined what caused the fire that destroyed 10 businesses along the city's historic Front Street district.

A website has been set up to allow for online donations to the Front Street Relief Fund. To donate, click here. Both restaurants are donating a portion of their proceeds to the fire relief fund.{}