‘Everything is a little bigger’ at new Lowe’s

Officials expect new store to open in January

The new Lowe’s store in the Maui Business Park is almost complete, with store officials saying it should open in mid-January. The new store will have 22 percent more sales floor area than its current site at the Maui Marketplace. The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI photo

KAHULUI — There will be a new assortment of roofing materials, a garden area three times larger than the current one and rugs tailored to “island living” at the new Lowe’s home improvement store under construction in the Maui Business Park in Kahului, next to Target.

On Monday, Lowe’s officials offered a sneak peak into the store set to open in mid-January, according to Tony Elias, the company’s director of construction and development. Lowe’s will be moving to the new store, with 94,000 square feet of sales floor space, from its current location at the Maui Marketplace when its lease expires, store officials said. Lowe’s bought the 11-acre parcel from A&B for $18.7 million.

The new store will include a covered drive-thru lumberyard with a wider door than the current open lumberyard. The current entrance and exit is 10 feet wide; the new larger gate doors will be 14 feet wide, said store manager Tyson Sacks.

Ground was broken in April on the store at the Maui Business Park, along Pakaula Street on the Haleakala side of Wal-Mart and across the street from Target.

Workers were busy cleaning the store Monday afternoon, getting it ready for “racking” to begin today. Elias explained that racking involves the installation of shelves and is expected to take about a week.

Tony Elias, Lowe’s director of construction and development, stands inside the empty building Monday. Beginning today, store shelves and other interior items will be placed inside the new store. The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI photo

Then the merchandise will be placed in the store, Elias said. Usually, merchandising takes around six weeks, but with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, this step will take a bit longer, Elias said.

“Everything is a little bigger,” Elias said of the new store. “(It will) definitely be more customer-friendly.”

The current store has 77,000 square feet of sales floor space, which is a little smaller than a typical Lowe’s. The site originally opened as an Eagle Hardware & Garden Co., which Lowe’s acquired in 1999.

Charles J. Buckingham, who is vice president of Colliers International, which handles leasing for the Maui Marketplace, said that his company is in talks with several possible tenants to fill the soon-to-be-vacant Lowe’s and the former Sports Authority spaces. Sports Authority declared bankruptcy and all stores nationwide closed earlier this year.

The Lowe’s area will be divided into three tenant spaces, and the Sports Authority space will return to housing two tenants, Buckingham said. Sports Authority took over the space fronting Dairy Road after Borders shut down when the national chain went out of business in 2011.

When the new Lowe’s Kahului opens, it will be the newest of 1,791 stores nationwide and the largest in the state, Elias said. The chain has three other Hawaii stores — in Kona and in Waipahu and Iwilei on Oahu.

Sacks said that the store will continue to offer its core hardware, appliance and other home-improvement items but also will add new products. For example, the new store will be adding metal roof products to its line. Its rug color selection will expand from neutrals to “island living” colors, such as teal and pastels.

Lowe’s has notified its plant vendors that it will need more plants for its larger garden center, Sacks said. Half of the store’s plant vendors are from Maui. He estimated there will be 150 percent more plants needed, compared to the current store.

A new feature at the Lowe’s will be an online pickup area at the front entrance. Customers will not have to set foot in the  store to pick up their items, as they do currently, Elias and Sacks said. There also will be special online pickup parking stalls.

The store uses LED lighting, which cuts its electricity bill in half, and there are 420 parking stalls, including an electronic vehicle charging station.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.