GATLINBURG (WATE)- Anyone who has lived in Gatlinburg knows one of the most iconic restaurants was McKinney’s Market and Deli, famous for hot dogs with chilli and cheese, and fried apple pie for dessert.
However, On November 28 the Sevier County Wildfires destroyed McKinney’s Market, McKinney’s Auto and rental cabins on the same property.
Looking ahead, owner Faye McKinney says she doesn’t plan to rebuild, but that the store will live on through the people.
“Our legacy is gone. It went with the fire but it will live on,” said McKinney.
Faye McKinney and her husband, Dale, opened McKinney’s Market 33 years ago. They opened their doors within their first year of marriage, and haven’t looked back since.
From the store, their business grew to a gas station, auto shop, and rental properties. McKinney says people always knew they could come to McKinney’s for anything.
“I remember the first time we broke a hundred dollars. I was so excited. I said, ‘you’re not gonna believe it Dale we broke a hundred dollars today.’ So you can tell how we grew.” Said McKinney.
Dale was battling Leukemia and passed away in December 2016, just a few weeks after the wildfires.
McKinney’s home was also lost in the fires, but even so, Faye says she doesn’t question what has happened knowing it makes her stronger.
“I don’t know how it came to that because the fire was everywhere and I don’t question why some were saved and some weren’t,” said McKinney.
The 14th victim of the wildfire was officially identified as Pamela Johnson on Friday.
Johnson was one of “McKinney’s Girls’, a nickname Faye used to describe her work family.
Johnson worked at the store for over a decade and McKinney says people from Tennessee and beyond would come to McKinney’s just to get a hug from “Mama Pam”.