CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - Frank's Pizza owner Patrick Adair has seen his share of heartbreak during the past few months, losing his mother and then his business.
Adair's mother Debra Whitley, more commonly known as "Frank," owned and operated the boardwalk pizza joint for more than a decade before it burned in late September.
Adair said she poured her heart into the business, often going months without giving herself a paycheck.
"All winter long she didn't make any money. The store made just enough to pay the help and pay the lights and pay the rent and that was it," Adair said.
Adair's world turned upside down when his mother suddenly became ill with pneumonia, struggling just to walk from her car to the store without running out of breath.
When she passed away in July, she left the business in the hands of Adair and his children to carry on the pizza-making legacy.
The family was on the verge of overcoming their grief when the arcade next door caught fire and their business was sucked in to the blaze.
"So, we locked the door up and went and stood over by the trash cans and just watched it burn and I cried and cried and cried…....it was bad,"Adair said through teary eyes as he looked around at the damage inside the shop.
When the smoke settled, Adair had another problem on his hands. His mother had never actually signed a lease with the property owners.
So, Adair and his family made the decision to move; but not very far away. He has plans to open a new Frank's Pizza in February on the other side of the boardwalk, less than 20 feet away.