LIHU‘E — Kapa‘a resident Ken Kubota arrived at the grand opening of the new Kaua‘i Home Depot at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
He had never seen a Home Depot before, but had heard about its reputation.
His first glance inside the large store garnered this reaction.
“It’s big,” Kubota said. “It’s huge.”
After taking a few more steps inside the store, he regained composure and offered a quick review.
“There is so much selection here,” he said. “It’s clean and well organized. It seems that there are always employees around to help answer any questions.”
He was right.
After weeks and weeks of anticipation, the new, 120,000-square- foot Kaua‘i Home Depot opened to the public yesterday morning.
Approximately 140 Home Depot associates and managers were on hand to help greet customers and offer their knowledge about the aisles upon aisles of home-improvement merchandise.
“It (business) has been really steady so far,” said store manager Leonard Peters. “We wanted to keep things relatively simple for everybody. This has been one of the smoothest grand openings that I have seen. The associates we trained are a great caliber of people.”
Home Depot assistant store manager Mark Antony added, “We provided them (the associates) with as much information possible on what to expect today and this weekend. Today has been steady. We haven’t had that mad rush yet.”
The Home Depot is the world’s largest home-improvement retailer, and has six stores in Hawai‘i. The Kaua‘i store is the newest in the state.
“It’s a much needed thing on this island,” said Kaua‘i resident Jhoanne Goodwin. “There are great prices here.”
Jhoanne and her daughter Melanie have been on the island for 2 1/2 years, and lived in Houston, Texas before moving to Kaua‘i. In Houston, the two spent some time in a Home Depot store, and knew what to expect going into the Kaua‘i grand opening.
“You get a lot of knowledgeable employees at this store,” Jhoanne Goodwin said. “I am sure for the residents here, who have never seen a Home Depot before, that this is a huge thing. Everybody will benefit from this store.”
On Wednesday night, a special community-night celebration was held. According to Peters, the event was a great success.
However, the store officially opened to residents of Kaua‘i on Thursday, and the result was full parking lots in the Home Depot parking lot as well as several of the lots at the Kukui Grove Center.
In order to help alleviate some of the traffic on Thursday, Kukui Grove contracted with Freeman Guards to provide a special contingent of security personnel.
“They (Kaua‘i residents) have been waiting for this for a very long time,” said Home Depot associate Liane Carter. “Whole families are coming in and spending hours here. The fun thing that we see is that people can find things that they love and are affordable and get them here.”
In addition to customers and associates at the store, the Home Depot had several contractors, including Alexander & Baldwin’s David Wilson. In addition, several national-brand franchises such as Simple Green offered samples for customers.
The $7.9 million Kaua‘i Home Depot project was built by Maryl Pacific Construction, Inc.
Home Depot is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Business Editor Barry Graham may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or mailto:email@example.com.
Home Depot Facts
The Home Depot was founded in 1978 and has become the second-largest retailer in the country. Some 22.3 million customers shop at the stores each week. The Home Depot stocks over 35,000 different kinds of building materials and garden products.
There are currently 1,600 stores in the nation, and a new one opens every 43 hours. The company also operates 53 EXPO design centers, five HD Supply stores, nine HD Landscape supply stores, and a Home Depot Floor Store.