Candlelight vigil held ahead of former Hooters demolition in West Virginia

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Feb. 26 (UPI) — Fans and former employees of the last Hooters to close its doors in West Virginia gathered outside the former restaurant for a candlelight vigil ahead of the building’s demolition.

The Hooters eatery in Kanawha City, Charleston, closed during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and never reopened, with developers eventually announcing the building would be demolished to make way for a Sheetz gas station.

Organizers said the candlelight vigil started out as a joke between friends, but it took off on social media and hundreds of people, including some former Hooters employees, turned out to pay tribute to the restaurant, famous for its hot wings and scantily-clad servers.

“I started out coming in to get a job and it became so much more because I met so many life long friends and my co-workers,” Danielle Hughart, a former employee who attended the vigil, told WCHS-TV.

Leo Browning, one of the organizers of the event, said Hooters’ corporate office learned of the vigil plans and mailed a box of calendars to be distributed to the building’s mourners.

Browning said the vigil ended up being more than a tribute to a beloved restaurant, it also raised money for a local family in need.

“One of our close friend’s daughters, she was just diagnosed with a very, very rare disease and it’s very serious. If she don’t get help then she’s not going to be with us much longer,” Browning said.

The organizers said the money raised at the vigil will allow the family to travel to California for treatment.

A crew from Rodney Loftis & Son Contracting arrived Monday morning and demolished the former Hooters and neighboring business Captain D’s to make way for the coming Sheetz.

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