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Alamance Co. restaurant gets second chance after fire

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BURLINGTON, N.C. – The former Carver's on Elm in Graham reopened Monday as Carver's Restaurant in Burlington after four months of being closed.

"I thought I'd be better off to do this than to go into debt," said owner Ricky Carver.

The new building is on South Church Street in the former Dottie's Restaurant location.

In January, Carver lost everything after Carver's on Elm burned down. The building was a total loss.

"I didn't know what I was going to do," Carver said.

"It was just awful standing there with him and the staff, just watching the building burn," said Graham resident Rita Agnew.

After seeing the fire, Agnew along with others in the community jumped into action.

"We raised like $5,000 and that was in donations only," Agnew said.

She and others threw benefit concerts to help the business reopen.

Some even put together a social media campaign called "Operation: Carver's On Elm."

"The very next Sunday, I literally had parishioners coming to us saying, 'How can we help?'" said Pastor Kevin Baker of First United Methodist Church.

In February, the restaurant became the center of the church's monthly prayer focus.

"We have a big hearted church,” Baker said. “Folks respond quickly to their neighbors in need."

It's the kind of response Carver says he wouldn't have been able to reopen without.

"Words can't describe how good people have been,” Carver said, teary-eyed.