Lowe’s doors open Friday
SALEM – The lights are on, shelves are stocked and employees in red vests and Lowe’s T-shirts are getting their final training. Just about everything is in the long-awaited Lowe’s store in Salem – except the customers. On Friday, they’ll be there, too.
The “soft” opening of Lowe’s Home Improvement Store No. 2939 is April 30, when the public will be allowed in starting at 6 a.m. The official grand opening festivities will come on Thursday, May 6 with a “board cutting” instead of a ribbon cutting. Store manager Joe Tucciarone is ready.
“We’re anxious to be open and be a store, and start helping people with their home improvement projects,” said Tucciarone, who is coming home to Salem.
He graduated from Salem High School in 1990. Four weeks ago the 38-year-old arrived back in Salem after managing a Lowe’s in Culpepper and a total of 15 years of working with Lowe’s in Christiansburg and the three stores in Roanoke.
Tucciarone said his family, made up of wife Mina, 18-year-old son Brendon and 10-year-old daughter Olivia, would be moving from Orange County after school is out there.
The family will be back together with his parents, Joe and Linda Tucciarone, who live in Salem, and his sister and brother-in-law, Erica and Erin Barger, and their young sons Harry and Reese.
Tucciarone said the Salem Lowe’s has about 150 employees, “and is still hiring more.” He said applicants can go to Lowes.com to get an employment application, or come to the store where there is a kiosk that connects to the website.
When the company took possession of the store four weeks ago, “There was just walls and a floor,” Tucciarone recalled.
“It’s been exciting for us to finally get in; it’s been such a rough winter,” he added.
Lowe’s and developer Richard W. Wilkinson of Wilkinson Development Corp. in Lake Mary, Fla., had hoped the store would be open earlier but the record-snow in December and more in January delayed completion of the parking lot.
Excavation and grading took longer than hoped for, too, in the three-year project. Excavation of the site, which was most recently West Salem Shopping Center, involved removing tanks of chemical wastes, the legacy of the Leas-McVitty Tannery that dated back to the turn of the 20th century.
Contaminated soil was transported to a hazardous waste disposal facility.
Because of anticipated additional costs associated with the development, the City of Salem agreed to give Wilkinson’s firm a $3-million-incentive from future sales tax revenue for up to the first 10 years. The building is owned by Wilkinson’s firm, and leased to Lowe’s for 25 years.
The home improvement store has 117,000 square feet of retail sales space, with an adjacent garden center. A store of this size represents an average investment in the community of approximately $18.5 million, according to Lowe’s publicity.