Hundreds attend fundraiser for burned down Tucker hardware store

Hundreds attend fundraiser for burned down Tucker hardware store

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The Handy Ace Hardware store served customers for decades in Tucker before burning down. The Handy Ace Hardware store served customers for decades in Tucker before burning down.
TUCKER, Ga. -

Hundreds of people came together in Tucker on Thursday to help employees of a hardware store that recently burned to ground.

Flames destroyed the Handy Ace Hardware store on Dec. 28. Residents say the family-owned store was a fixture in the community for decades.

Those attending a fundraiser at the Greater Good Barbeque on Thursday fondly remembered the store.

"They had probably more employees than almost anywhere you go. I mean, they always had people, they always helped you," said Charlie Lester.

Charlie's wife, Nancy, said there's no replacing the long-time Tucker institution.

"If you can't find something, you can find it at Handy Hardware, and we've been going there for 30 years," Nancy Lester said.

The family-owned restaurant started in the 1930s in Decatur, then moved to Brookhaven before ending up in Tucker in 1985.

Since the fire, the family has shuffled its 35 employees to other stores to keep paychecks coming.  The fundraiser will help them bills and a little more.

"We did not know we were that loved. We love our customers, and they love us, but we didn't know it was this big," said Tracey Wrench, the owner of the Greater Good Barbeque.

The restaurant began serving at 11:00 a.m. and the line reportedly stretched through the building ever since.

"It reminds me of ‘It's A Wonderful Life,' seeing people like this and opening their hearts," said store employee Cheryl Burns.

Handy Ace owner Harold Smith promised that the store will be back.

When exactly the store reopens depends on the investigation, according to Smith. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Another fundraiser for employees will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9 in the store's parking lot, according to a flier given to FOX 5's George Franco.

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