Nation’s No. 2 retailer, Home Depot, opens here

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2003

Velma Lindsey looks at her cart for a place to put her next purchase at The Home Depot as employee Margo Hunter prepares a fan display during the grand opening of the store this morning on South Frontage Road.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The VIcksburg Post)

[5/22/03]Vicksburg’s newest super-sized store, The Home Depot, opened this morning with little fanfare after Wednesday nights pre-grand events.

The company sent out about 500 invitations for the “soft” opening. Officially, the store opened at 7 today with fewer customers, but customers happy to be there.

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“I love Home Depot,” said Velma Lindsey. “I usually go to Jackson to go to The Home Depot.”

Lindsey, a nurse who works night shifts, was one of the first customers this morning at the home improvement center on South Frontage Road. Within 30 minutes, she had a shopping cart full of plants and a new fan.

Construction of the store near Halls Ferry Park began in July after the developer, Ergon Properties of Jackson, was awarded up to $900,000 in tax increment financing by the city for the project. Other development is expected to follow in the area including at the site of the former Halls Ferry Elementary School, which was torn down in February.

The Home Depot store sits on a 250,000-square-foot development, which includes a new access road to the adjacent park and a traffic signal on South Frontage Road. The center itself has 95,000 square feet of retail space that includes a garden center, building supplies, paints and isles of tools and equipment.

General manager Bob Deaton said the fully staffed store has about 110 employees and will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Deaton said he was pleased with the initial public reaction to the store. It was described as “wall-to-wall” with people Wednesday night.

“There was a line of people trying to get in half-way into the parking lot,” Deaton said.

The Home Depot is the second-largest retailer in the nation, second to Wal-Mart. The Atlanta-based company owns and operates 1,471 stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

When plans for the Vicksburg store were announced, consultants projected it would employ about 200 people and generate about $20 million in sales a year.