Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times Volunteer workers have rebuilt the structural foundation of Memaw's Grocery after it was torn down due to fire damage in December 2018, and owner Charlene White hopes to have the country store up and running again by the end of the summer.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

Volunteer workers have rebuilt the structural foundation of Memaw's Grocery after it was torn down due to fire damage in December 2018, and owner Charlene White hopes to have the country store up and running again by the end of the summer.

Dean Sircy had eaten home-cooked meals from Memaw's Grocery for almost as long as he could remember before a fire forced its closure in December 2018.

Now, he is part of a group of local farmers and sawmill workers volunteering their time to restore the building.

"I'm 56, and I started going to that store when I was four," Sircy said. "(Owner) Charlene (White) has a big heart. I've got seven grandkids, and we'd go every day for lunch. She's never once charged a grandkid for their meal, so I wanted to do a little bit for her compared to what she's done for me."

Teddy Brawner coordinated the group, which has focused on building the

see grocery/page a2

structure back and reinforcing it with metal while White prepares to redo the interior.

"The building is built and walls are up inside," White said. "We've still got electric, plumbing, heating and cooling before we can finish the interior walls."

Volunteers have put in their free time when able, but the crop season has stalled the build until recently. The group hopes to finish by July, although White does not have a specific estiamte for a reopening date.

Memaw's was torn down after a fire heavily damaged its interior on Dec. 4. An electrical short near the deep fryer caused the incident.

Patrons can expect to see the same selection and features as before once the grocery is rebuilt. Memaw's is known for offering home-cooked meals, such as bacon cheeseburgers, baked chicken and pancakes, in addition to its grocery stock.

"It's a blessing that these people care that much about me, my mother and my family," White said. "I didn't have enough insurance to contract someone, but I just bought the material, and they all pulled together."