State News

Tornado-ravaged Lowe's reopens

Posted September 8, 2011

— A Lowe's Home Improvement store in Sanford reopened its doors Thursday morning, five months after it was destroyed by one of the springtime tornadoes that tore across North Carolina.

Bands played, people danced and hundreds of people, possibly as many as 1,000, came out to celebrate.

More than 100 employees and customers were in the store on April 16 when a tornado ripped in to the Lowe's, tearing the steel roof off the building. No one was seriously hurt, thanks to the quick action of manager Michael Hollowell and his staff who moved everyone to the back of the store, where there are no windows. 

Customer Kathy Hendricks returned Thursday to celebrate and reflect on what happened to her that April day.

"My husband said, ‘We need to go up to the Lowe’s to get away from the weather. It’s going to be bad,'" she recalled. "And then our house was fine, and we were right in the middle of it (the tornado at Lowe's)."

Carey Rosser and his 13-year-old daughter Hannah were inside their truck in the parking lot when the tornado struck. One of Lowe's walls landed on their truck.

"I crouched over, and then I felt just a lot of pressure around me and on top of my head," Hannah Rosser said. 

Carey and Hannah Rosser said Thursday they were amazed to see the store reopen.

"This is a special day for the community," Carey Rosser said. 

While repairs were being made, Lowe's transferred all 160 workers from the Sanford store to other stores across the region, providing transportation for them to Pittsboro, Cary, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Southern Pines, Smithfield, Clayton, Erwin, Apex, Mebane, Laurinburg and Durham.

The company says the roughly 100,000-square-foot new store represents an investment of more than $10 million.

NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson celebrates Lowe's reopening NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson celebrates Lowe's reopening

NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was also at the store's reopening Thursday to lend his support for the company, which is one of his sponsors.

"The fact that they were able to get the employees and the customers to a safe area in the store … I can’t even imagine that part," he said. "(There are) a lot of great stories here, and I’m just happy to be a part of it."

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  • mewuvbb Sep 8, 2011

    A wonderful company to work for, I have been impressed with their character as a company in this day and time. I work for Lowes and I still feel like I am living in a dream world. Kudo's to the Sanford Store We Love ya, Grateful and blessed to work with a company and the employees that were transferred to the Pittsboro location. We miss ya, but we knew you had to go back. Many Blessings of Abundance in Making our Group of People that work for Lowes and the management SUCCESS!!!!

  • TITAN4X4 Sep 8, 2011

    he story reads "While repairs were being made, Lowe's transferred all 160 workers from the Sanford store to other stores across the region, providing transportation for them to Pittsboro, Cary, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Southern Pines, Smithfield, Clayton, Erwin, Apex, Mebane, Laurinburg and Durham."

    When was leveling rubble and building a brand new building considered "repairs?" You repair a small part of a facility. when you bulldoze the entire structure, its rebuilding, or replacing. WRAL made an understatement! I would like WRAL to find someone to come "REPAIR" my house!

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 8, 2011

    I really think they are low on the number of people that turned out. I was told it was way more and overflowed into the parking lots around lowes.

  • awomnsptofview Sep 8, 2011

    Love this story!!! Great people, great employer.

  • Jbmat Sep 8, 2011

    Private enterprise did this. NOT the government. If Uncle had been involved, they would still be arguing over what to build. Get Uncle out of the business sector, make those elected clowns in Washington do some work besides have endless committee meetings and maybe something will get done.

  • gopack07 Sep 8, 2011

    "Lowe's transferred all 160 workers from the Sanford store to other stores across the region, providing transportation for them to Pittsboro, Cary, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Southern Pines, Smithfield, Clayton, Erwin, Apex, Mebane, Laurinburg and Durham."

    Bravo, Lowes! I had no idea they did this AND provided transportation. Way to take care of your employees.

  • wildcat Sep 8, 2011

    GLAD TO SEE THEM REOPEN. WILL THEY BE HIRING NEW PEOPLE?

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 8, 2011

    Good for the community. Local jobs and tax revenue.

  • nascarguy Sep 8, 2011

    Busy week for Jimmie Johnson. Sunday race cancelled, back to Atlanta for race Tuesday. Lowe's grand opening today, and off to Richmond for pre-race practice tomorrow.

  • mcondor Sep 8, 2011

    I always preferred Lowes over the "Orange" home store, and with all their goodwill towards their employees and the community I will surely continue to give them my business.

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