Hardware store plans for fall opening

Alaska will gain its second major new hardware store this year when Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse inaugurates its South Anchorage store this fall.

The new store is scheduled to open in August or September, said Tawn Earnest, spokeswoman for the Wilkesboro, N.C.-based retailer.

Lowe’s joins Home Depot with new stores opening in the state in 2002, each launching second stores in addition to existing stores in Anchorage. Home Depot opened a store in Fairbanks in February.

Roger Hickel Contracting Inc. of Anchorage, which served as general contractor on the Fairbanks Home Depot, currently is building the new Lowe’s. The new store, located at the corner of the Old Seward Highway and O’Malley Road, will be the fourth national warehouse hardware store in Alaska.

Construction should be completed by mid-July, and company officials will then spend the next several weeks installing and stocking racks, hiring employees and handling other work in preparation for opening, Earnest said.

"This is first Lowe’s we’ve built in Alaska," she said.

When Lowe’s bought Eagle Hardware & Garden in late 1998, it acquired the Eagle store in Anchorage. Subsequent renovations at that store modified it to feature the Lowe’s motif, she said.

Construction on the new store hit delays following the acquisition of the 21.5 acre site in January 2001. The store was originally expected to open in January 2002. Competitor Home Depot also proposed a new East Anchorage store last year but later canceled those plans.

Current site work on Lowe’s began last October.

A new Lowe’s store usually totals about 150,000 square feet, including 28,000 to 30,000 square feet for a lawn and garden center.

Stores of this size typically employ 175 to 200 people with 85 percent of those employees working full time.

04/14/2002 - 8:00pm