Pappy's Custom T's suffers roof collapse

Matthew Lane • Sep 9, 2018 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Fred “Pappy” Vineyard is not letting something like a collapsed roof put him out of business.

The Bloomingdale native, who’s owned and operated Pappy’s Custom T’s in downtown Kingsport, plans to repair the damage to his building and reopen as soon as possible.

A rainstorm hit about a month ago and apparently that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Pappy’s 244 E. Main St. building is more than 100 years old, and between the rain and the age of the mortar between the bricks, the roof just gave out, Vineyard said.

“They called me at about 1 a.m. from next door and said, ‘Pappy, the back of your building ... the storm got to it,” Vineyard said. “The storm dropped the whole back section of the building.”

The two-story structure takes up the corner at Main and Cherokee and is more like five buildings in one. The original building has been added to over the years and can easily be noticed once you take a good look at it.

What fell in was basically the roof and floor of the two rear sections of the structure. Luckily, the stuff that was stored there wasn’t worth a whole lot, Vineyard said, and shouldn’t affect the main store.

“I’m hoping to get to go back, take the back section off and then block it up and put brick on the outside. That’s what I’m hoping to do,” Vineyard said.

He has called a contractor to come in, survey the damage and figure out a plan to repair the building.

“We’re going to help him as much as we can. The (Tri-Cities Motorcyclists) is going to do a benefit for him and everything we can,” said Larry Lawson, TCM vice president. “I’ve known him for probably 40 years, and for 40 years this man hasn’t done anything but help other people. It’s time he gets some help.”

Vineyard, who is 75, hasn’t stopped working since he got out of high school. In addition to running Pappy’s the past 45 years, Vineyard spent five years at Holston Defense, two years at the glass plant, worked up north for awhile and even spent time in the U.S. Army.

A partially collapsed roof and wall are not going to cause him to retire, as far as he can help it.

Though the entire structure was closed by the city’s building department last month, Kingsport building official Keith Bruner told the Times News, the front two sections of Pappy’s are stable enough for Vineyard to reopen.

“I’m ready to get started. I want to get it back open and operating like it was before (the collapse) happened,” Vineyard said. “They’re letting me keep the front two sections open and I probably could. But I’d rather get it fixed before I do anything.”

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