Fernley mega retailers to open soon
September 27, 2007
FERNLEY – Two new businesses – very large businesses – will soon open their doors to customers in Fernley just in time to capitalize on the holiday shopping season.
It’s no secret that a Wal-Mart Supercenter and Lowe’s are opening their doors in a prime location on Fernley’s north side in the breezeway of Interstate 80. The Lowe’s sign went up last week, while construction continues on the Wal-Mart building.
Lowe’s Home Improvement is scheduled to open in late October, said store manager Steve Schoenberger. The store is 117,000 square feet inside, plus another 37,000 square feet for the garden center. He said the building is a standard store size for the home improvement retailer.
The nationwide retailer is located on Stanley Drive off Newlands Drive, just south of Interstate 80. The parking lot is finished with freshly striped parking spaces and cart roundups dotting the large lot. Young plants sprout from the perimeter landscaping.
Inside, workers bustled about the store Tuesday morning, putting finishing touches on the building and assembling shelves that reach high above shoppers’ heads. Schoenberger said the store will begin to receive products soon in anticipation of the October opening.
Nearly all of the 125 employees have already been hired, Schoenberger said, with a majority of them being direct hires. Only a few have been hired through a temp agency.
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“We’ve had a great response from the community,” Schoenberger said. “The community has been excited about us coming.”
Even cross-town competitor Kent’s Supply Center on Logan Road sees a benefit in Lowe’s opening in Fernley.
“I actually see it being a positive impact (on Kent’s),” said Karla Kent, owner of Kent’s Supply Centers in Fernley and Fallon. Her great-grandfather I.H. Kent opened Kent’s Supply Center in Fallon in 1892. She expanded the business by opening the Fernley store in 2001.
“We’re a really contractor-based company, and we service the professional contractor. They’re not in the market to service contractors. I think it will help people shop in town more,” Kent said.
In anticipation of the large chain store opening, Kent said she is pushing her staff to work on product knowledge and merchandising. She said the recent downturn in the housing market has cut the Fernley store’s sales in half, but the Fallon store’s earnings are higher, “mainly due to do-it-yourselfers.”
While progress on the Wal-Mart Supercenter isn’t as far along as Lowe’s, the retailer plans on opening before the end of the year, according to Karianne Fallow, senior manager for Wal-Mart public affairs. In an interview last year, she said all Wal-Mart projects are considered independent and are based upon the analyzed needs of each community.
Fernley City Manager Gary Bacock said the opening of both stores will have a positive impact on both the city and property tax revenue.
“With any piece of property that was undeveloped that became developed, there is a difference in property value,” Bacock said. “In both cases, it was vacant land that turned into productive commercial land. There will be a tremendous difference.”
The city’s infrastructure benefited from the new development because new development in the area paid a pro-rated share of improving a sewer lift station near Wal-Mart, a benefit to everybody upstream and in subdivisions, he said.