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The new Lowe’s Super Store – which will be Greeneville’s largest retail store – plans to open here before Easter, which comes this year on April 15.
The new Lowe’s, at 2375 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy., totals 135,000 square feet inside as well as having a 32,000-sq.-ft. fenced outdoor area for one of its two lawn and garden departments.
This makes the Lowe’s Super Store not only much larger than the present 25,000-sq.-ft. Lowe’s store, but also bigger than Greeneville’s Wal-Mart store, which at 120,000 square feet has been the largest retail store in Greeneville for several years. 125 Hired From 1,000
Jeff Wills, manager of the store, said that it will have more than 200 employees, including about 70 workers transferring from Lowe’s present Greeneville store, and “six or eight” employees who have transferred from the Johnson City store.
In addition, Willis said, he has hired about 125 new employees from among about 1,000 applicants.
“Recent layoffs at other Greeneville facilities have been unfortunate, but they enabled us to choose from a pool of highly qualified applicants,” Willis said.
The new “home improvement warehouse,” as Lowe’s calls its stores, involves a $16.5 million investment, a Lowe’s spokesperson said.
The store was rapidly constructed by James R. Vannoy & Sons, of Anderson, S.C.; construction started only in September.
Willis said, “We’re happy to be able to offer this community such a complete store, which will help everyone improve their own homes, in line with our company’s slogan this year, ‘Improving Home Improvement.’”
Charlie Davis, a store employee, said Monday during a tour of the new store that “I think the people are going to be surprised” at how extensive the new store is and how many products it offers.
40,000 Items For Sale
The Lowe’s store will carry 40,000 different items and also will be able to “special order” 400,000 items.
A Greeneville Sun reporter and photographer who toured the Super Store on Monday were told by Willis that the new store has:
• 700 parking places;
• 57 aisles;
• 27 checkout stations, including 14 in the front of the building and 13 others in
various other locations;
• a ceiling about 25 feet high;
• racks holding goods that are 12 to 16 feet high;
• three receiving doors where a steady stream of trucks will unload goods;
• a lawn and garden center of 12,000 square feet inside and 32,000 square feet outside, a size making it almost twice as large as the entire present Lowe’s store; and
• sophisticated security devices, which include cameras viewing virtually the entire store, and electronic monitoring devices.
Willis said most departments in the new store will be two to six times the size of those in the present store.
The Super Store’s departments will include: lawn and garden sections: a seasonal one inside the store and another one in the fenced area adjoining the store; cabinets and appliances, including a kitchen design area and furniture; electrical; plumbing, including bathroom fixtures; paint; home decor, including flooring; building materials; millwork; and Tool World, which will feature a wide variety of power tools.
Willis said on Monday that the Super Store was about 80 percent stocked with goods at that time. Some departments appeared to be ready to open, while other departments were still being stocked and their displays readied.
Willis and his employees are enthusiastic as they approach the new store’s opening.
Willis said some 300 people, a majority of whom are not regular store employees, have been involved in recent weeks, either erecting racks to hold goods and sales displays or stocking merchandise.
One of the many non-store employees working at the store Monday was Jim Smith, whose Whitesburg company regularly installs store displays and puts together merchandise at 64 Lowe’s stores.
Others who have been on hand are representatives of companies whose products are sold by Lowe’s, and the vendors helping to prepare displays and briefing employees on their products.
Training has occurred both in classes and on a one-to-one basis, with veteran employees coaching newcomers.
Rachel Sentelle, an assistant department head, on Monday was instructing LeAnn Moore, a new cashier who came to work for the first time on Saturday.
Sentelle said she is proud of how the store’s staff has worked hard to prepare the
“I love it!” Moore said of her new job.
Store manager Willis, a native of Kingsport, has managed the present Lowe’s store here for the past two years. The store was built in the mid-1980s.
Previously, Willis managed a Lowe’s Super Store in Huntsville, Ala. – a store similar in size to Greeneville’s new store.
Assisting Willis will be five assistant managers – Ed Sutherland, Vicki Ross, Ed Trotman, Stanley McCamey and Jason Bullis – as well as numerous department
One reason so many employees are needed, Willis explained, is that the new store will be open 94 hours a week – from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday.
Willis said that the store’s staffing pattern will depend on shopping trends, with the greatest number of employees being on duty when the greatest number of customers will be shopping, whether that be mornings, afternoons or evenings.
The new store’s present telephone number is 639-0012, but when the present store closes, its phone number, 638-1374, will be transferred to the new store.
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