Skipping the typical red ribbon most new businesses cut to commemorate a grand opening, a new Evans home-supply store chose to saw in half an orange-painted board printed with "The Home Depot #1747."
A process that started with the sale of the former Evans Middle School site in March 2005 ended Thursday with the grand opening of the new Home Depot.
Home Depot employees and county leaders participated in the "board-cutting" ceremony Thursday at the 130,000-square-foot store at Washington and Belair roads.
County commissioners expressed their gratitude for the big box giant's willingness to start a new location in Evans.
"Home Depot has a reputation as a good corporate citizen," said Commissioner Ron Thigpen.
The store demonstrated its charitable side during the board cutting by presenting a $2,000 gift card to The Columbia County Foundation for Children.
Store Manager Bobby Boaen thanked his 100-plus-member staff for its work in getting the store ready for the grand opening.
At one point, Home Depot executives considered closing down the Bobby Jones Expressway location in favor of the new Evans store, but have since abandoned that plan.
Columbia County school officials sold the Home Depot property in March 2005 for $4.8 million to Evans Middle Partners, a partnership between Atlanta-based Abernathy and Timberlake Investment Group LLC and Augusta's Blanchard and Calhoun.
Workers completed demolition of the former school, then the county's oldest existing school, in March. Construction on The Home Depot started soon thereafter.
All that remains of the original school are stone pillars and an arch, which were moved to the county's Memorial Gardens in Evans.
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