Business Owner Devastated After Fire

Natalie Potts

CARROLL COUNTY, Tenn.- Residents in McKenzie said their community is mourning the loss of a local gift shop.

Impressions Gift Shop in downtown McKenzie was completely destroyed in a fire, Monday night. The business has been located there for more than 2 years. Residents said they are heartbroken their downtown jewel has gone up in flames.

"I'm just speechless I'm just really speechless," said customer Joyce Humphreys."I know teachers and educators, you know, this is where they exchange gifts they would always come to Impressions."

Fire officials said the gift shop was a total loss. Family members of owner Christine Radford told 7 Eyewitness News that she is devastated. Friends said her store was a dream that took years to build.

"You could tell by walking into her store, you could tell how much work she put into this," said Humphreys."For you to take all that you have ever saved to make a dream come true, it's not easy."

The store owner's friends also said the gift shop was a place where Radford could find strength and community support while her husband is away working in Afghanistan.

"It's actually a bad situation. She would have to go through and her husband's not here to be with her, so I mean, it's pretty sad situation," said Customer Latasha Casey.

McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland said the store was a big part of downtown shopping. Holland said losing one of Carrol County's premier stores right before the holidays will affect holiday shopping throughout the area.

"This morning we've had phone calls from surrounding communities asking if she is going to be open," said Mayor Holland.

Fire Chief Brian Tucker told 7 Eyewitness News there is water and smoke damage to the shop's adjacent stores. Right now the downtown library is shut down due to smoke damage, and it is unclear when they will reopen. Residents said it will take time to recover from this loss because the store was the heart of McKenzie.

"It's gonna have to take us some revamping to get through Christmas, she was very special to us," said Humphreys.

Right now fire officials said they do not know what caused the blaze but they do not suspect arson. Impression's owners said they do plan to rebuild.


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