Improving home improvement - New Lowe's open for business

January 21, 2006|By DON AINES


A few hundred people wandered amid stacks of lumber, rows of appliances, through wide aisles with shelves stacked 15 feet high with merchandise on either side and past a small indoor parking lot of gleaming lawn tractors as the new Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse at Rouzerville Commons opened its doors for business Friday morning.

"We had about 12 or 15 people waiting when we opened" at 6 a.m., said store Manager Kirk Arnold, who started his day at 5 a.m. This is the third store the 30-year-old Pennsylvania native has run, the last one in Oklahoma, he said.

Despite a crowded parking lot, there was plenty of room inside the 116,000-square-foot store for people to move about without producing a traffic jam of shopping carts.

"We're glad they got one in Waynesboro instead of us running to Hagerstown," said Catherine Eyler of Sabillasville, Md., who was roaming the aisles with her husband, Bill. "That's not easy on your gas."


"Getting the Wal-Mart will be better, too," said Bill Eyler, speaking of the store scheduled to open this summer in the Rouzerville Commons commercial complex.

Lori David, who moved to Smithsburg from Montgomery County, Md., last fall, also said the drive across the Mason-Dixon Line was more convenient than trips into Hagerstown or Frederick, Md.

William Kaminski of Waynesboro, who was picking up materials and tools for some concrete work, said trips to the hardware store previously meant running to either the Lowe's in Chambersburg, Pa., or Home Depot in Hagerstown.

"I have a small farm and I'm always needing something," Kaminski said. While it will save him and other shoppers the drive to other towns, he said traffic along Pa. 16 will become a headache as commercial and residential development in Washington Township accelerates.

"It's going to be bad," Kaminski said.

"I spent 99 percent of my time in Hagerstown, either at the Lowe's or Home Depot," said Randy Sylvester, a Waynesboro contractor. The new store will save him time on local jobs, but his work also takes him into Frederick and Washington counties in Maryland and he will continue to patronize other stores as needed.

Lowe's, based in Mooresville, N.C., is in the midst of its biggest expansion, with plans to open 150 stores in 2006, employing approximately 175,000 people, she said.

The Waynesboro store will employ upwards of 175 people in full- and part-time positions, Cobb said. Arnold said about 150, mostly hired locally, were working on opening day, helping customers find some of the 40,000 items stocked by the store.

Lowe's investment for land acquisition, construction, and road and utility improvements for the store was $18.5 million, Cobb said.

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