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Longtime business will rebuild after fire, owner says
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Firefighters were called to Millie's Drapery & Decorating at about 5:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Millie’s Drapery & Decorating was nearly destroyed in a fire early Tuesday morning, but owner John Kinsey said the business will continue — probably at its current location.

“We’ll start again,” he said.

Kinsey said he has owned the business at 1732 Cleveland Highway for 37 years.

The fire was reported about 5:15 a.m., and firefighters found heavy smoke and fire when they arrived. Hall County firefighters remained at the business until about 9:30 a.m.

Kinsey said he was called about the fire about 7 a.m. The building is 8,000 square feet, and the business has six employees, including Kinsey and his wife, June.

“It didn’t really sink in that it’d be this bad,” he said, recalling his thought when he was called. He added his first thoughts were about his two children and four grandchildren.

His daughter, Melissa Hulsey, said there were “a couple hours of tears,” and it was back to work. She has worked at the store for 14 years, she said.

“I have faith in God,” Kinsey said. “It’ll work out.”

Hall County Fire Services Capt. Zachary Brackett said the cause of the fire was accidental and electrical in nature.

The current location has been the home of the business since it moved from Thompson Bridge Road in 1998, Kinsey said.

He said he hoped to salvage some materials from the showroom, which is on the front of the business, but the rear was destroyed. He said he had already talked with his insurance representative about rebuilding.

Kinsey said the business will be in touch with customers who had orders.

“We will take care of them,” he said.

He said he anticipates some contingency operation, maybe with portable buildings, while the rebuilding is done.

He said the inside of the structure “pretty much will have to be gutted.”

Kinsey, who bought the business in his 20s, said, “It started out as just an odd job for my wife, June. And it grew and grew and grew.”

It became his full-time job after four years, he said. He had worked for Pitney Bowes before starting full-time at the store.

The highway was shut down much of the early morning but reopened before 9 a.m.