The tools and supplies that Martinez resident Garth Hatch needs for his family's next home-improvement project are a lot closer at hand since the Evans Lowe's opened for business Saturday.
Hatch went with his wife, Alissa, and three children to browse the cabinet hardware and paint and to admire appliances in the kitchen design center.
"It's a lot more convenient and closer to our home," he said. "We'd like to stay in this area more and avoid the traffic on Bobby Jones (Expressway)."
The Evans store is the company's fifth in the Augusta-Aiken area and the second in Columbia County.
Lowe's officials have said the 117,000-square-foot store holds about 40,000 home-improvement products and employs about 175 full- and part-time workers.
Although the doors opened for the first time Saturday, the official grand opening festivities will be Thursday.
Store Manager Steve Fennell said shoppers started streaming into the store when it opened at 7 a.m. Saturday.
"I think this is a great area, and the store is going to do very well here," said Fennell, who moved to the area after managing a Lowe's in Gaffney, S.C.
Saturday's crowd was mostly filled with shoppers curious about the new store, Fennell said, and many wandering the wide aisles had their heads tilted up toward the marquees to find each section of the store.
Jimmy and Cheryl Kitchens traveled from Louisville, Ga., to browse appliances for a future home remodeling. Kitchens said they bypassed the other area stores to see whether the Evans store had a better selection.
He said he was impressed by the cleanliness of the store and the courtesy of the staffers.
"Right now it's way above the others in terms of cleanliness and orderliness," he said.
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