CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – A beloved local business owner and his son were killed in a head-on crash.
The lights are off, and the doors are locked to Classic Carolina on Franklin Street.
White poster board signs reading “In memory of Kris and Dhru Chellani,” sit outside of the building, with bouquets of flowers.
The iconic UNC apparel shop is closed for business, indefinitely.
On Sept. 6, Dhruva and his son, Kris, were killed in a crash.
Friends and family told CBS 17 a driver swerved into their lane, as they made their way back from a community event.
Nina Chellani, Dhru’s wife and Kris’ mother, is still in the hospital.
“It’s devastating. You know, all of our merchants here are like family. And this is a very tight community,” said Stephanie Cobert, the director of marketing for the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.
Instead of celebrating a Tar Heel victory on the gridiron, the Chapel Hill community is now grieving.
The Chellanis’ death came just days before the grand re-opening of their revamped shop, which had been set for Saturday, Sept. 9.
Cobert said Kris, a UNC graduate, was set to take more of a leadership role in the business.
“He spearheaded all of the renovations and changes,” she explained. “The store is one of our family-owned generational stores that we’re very proud of. They’ve been here for decades.”
Cobert said she’s received many messages from people in the community who want to help.
Business owners have offered space and time for people to gather and grieve.
More than 1,000 people have donated to the Chellani family. As of airtime, more than $72,500 had been raised on GoFundMe.
“It just shows how tight-knit, how resilient this community is, how much love and support they show,” said Cobert. “This is yet another blow to our community with the fire on West Franklin in July and the shooting on campus last month. And now this. We’ve been through a lot in Chapel Hill, but our community is close and our community is supportive.”
Many people on social media have remarked that the Chellanis family was known for their generosity and kindness.
Kris was a viral Tik Toker with over 105,000 followers.
He was famous for approaching random people, and offering them either free cash, or the opportunity to double the monetary amount and pass it to the next person.