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This article was published 15/2/2018 (1152 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg, to get all the puns out of the way early, has set a new Lowe’s.
Actually, it’s more the case that the home improvement giant Lowe’s, which held the grand opening on Thursday for its first store in Winnipeg, has set a new benchmark: its store will open at 6 a.m. on weekdays.
That was a big hit with customers and contractors wandering the shiny, new store aisles on Thursday.
Contractor Vlad Kulinich said that first hour in the morning is often wasted time for him while he waits for home improvement stores to open at either 7 or 8 a.m.
"That’s very good. That’s fantastic," Kulinich said. The stores remain open until 10 p.m. Saturday hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"It means you can pick up stuff either in the morning or after work," added his business partner, Arsen Nubarian.
It reflects a more early-morning society in general, some customers said.
"We love it. We’re early birds," said Andy, who was shopping with his wife, Estelle, but did not provide his last name. Both are retired and both are up before 6 a.m. "It will be very handy."
The Winnipeg outlet is the United States-based Lowe’s 64th store in Canada. It had a soft opening on Monday to work out any kinks prior to its official opening Thursday.
About 80 people were lined up before the 6 a.m. opening Thursday, said store manager Ed Golding, who grew up in Transcona and is returning from working at a Lowe’s in Newmarket, Ont., to run the Winnipeg store. The first customers were rewarded with a store giveaway, a Sprite shower filter.
"It’s the last major city in Western Canada where we haven’t had a store," said Malcolm Parks, Lowe’s divisional vice-president of operations, against a backdrop of tall shelves of drywall sheets, and blue and white balloons — Lowe’s colours.
That isn’t a reflection on the Winnipeg market, he said. "I think it was just (a matter of) waiting to find the real estate and the right location."
Parks added that "mentors" have been flown in from other stores to assist the Winnipeg employees — Lowe’s calls them "associates" — through the first weeks.
The new Lowe’s joins other big-box home-renovation stores Home Depot and Rona in Winnipeg. However, Rona has been owned by Lowe’s since 2016.
The 95,000-square-foot Lowe’s store is located in the Linden Ridge Shopping Centre on the southeast corner of the intersection of Kenaston and McGillivray boulevards.
This store represents a local investment in excess of $19 million and has created 130 new permanent jobs, as well as 35 to 40 seasonal positions.
Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) applauded the civil servants who helped with the approval process, and the contractors and workers who built the huge facility.
"This was just a field... and for a while just a big open parking lot." Now it’s a multimillion-dollar investment supporting hundreds of jobs, he said.
Education Minister Ian Wishart predicted Lowe’s would be successful "because Manitobans absolutely loves to ‘do it yourself.’"
Instead of a ribbon-cutting, Wishart had the honours of performing a board-cutting with a hand saw. Four-fifths of the cut was already made and he finished the cut in about 45 seconds, even with the saw blade jumping out of the groove a couple times.
Meanwhile, Wil Lozie of East Kildonan was out buying for himself, friends, family and others. "The mirror is for a friend," he said, pointing to his trolley stuffed with items, "and the paint is for the church."
"I’m getting my deals now," said Lozie, adding he likes the wide aisles.
And, of course, he likes the early opening hours. "That will be great because I can beat the traffic."
As for contractors Kulinich and Nubarian, they felt Lowe’s prices were a little less than those of competitors. They also saw different brands they haven’t seen in other stores.
Lowe’s donated $5,000 to the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities toward recreation activities.
Some other dignitaries at the opening ceremonies included MLA John Reyes (St. Norbert); Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce; and Esther Pallister, wife of Premier Brian Pallister.
Today, the first 1,000 customers will receive a Sylvania A19 LED 60-watt light bulb.
On Saturday, the first 200 customers receive a $25 Lowe’s gift card. There is also children’s workshop for families at 10 a.m., and an autograph signing and Q-and-A session with HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
On Sunday, the first 200 customers will receive a Bosch 32-piece Impact Tough screwdriver bit set.