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Home Depot opens Thursday

Home improvement enthusiasts will have a new place to buy everything from building materials to appliances.

The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, is opening its newest location Thursday on Highway 20 in Oak Harbor.

The Home Depot is operating out of a newly constructed 102,000-square-foot building. The retailer offers installation services, tool rental, a contractors desk and more than 35,000 products.

“We’re excited to be here in Oak Harbor,” said Melanie Arbogast, general manager, Friday morning. She said that 120 of the employees hired live in the Oak Harbor area. “The majority of the staff comes from the community.”

In the days leading up to the grand opening, employees are busy stocking shelves and going through the company training program.

In addition to the various home improvement products, the retailer also offers installation services and free workshops throughout the year for kids and adults.

Arbogast, who has worked for The Home Depot for 13 years, said the workshops vary depending on the season. Upcoming workshops for adults include painting and gardening. Kids’ workshops begin Saturday.

While The Home Depot caters to do-it-yourselfers, it also provides installation services for flooring, cabinetry, countertops, water heaters, windows, garage doors and exterior siding.

The business also offers home decor services and an appliance showroom.

When the Home Depot holds its grand opening on Thursday, company officials will present a $2,000 check to a local charity. Arbogast said officials haven’t determined yet which nonprofit will receive the donation.

Even though The Home Depot offers a one-stop-shop for home improvement, local businesses say they’re not overly concerned about the competition.

“We kind of look forward to a bit more competition,” said Gary Ellsworth, sales consultant for Oak Harbor Floor America. He added people on Whidbey Island are loyal to local businesses.

Another businessman in the area said The Home Depot gives his staff a chance to show off their customer service.

“It’s going to emphasize what we do,” said Frank Nelson, manager of Floors One Carpet Plus in Oak Harbor. He said the business offers prices that are competitive to The Home Depot.

Wes Taylor, manager of Frontier Building Supply in Oak Harbor, expressed similar sentiments.

“If you’ve had customers as long as we have, you must be doing something right,” Taylor said. Frontier Building Supply has been working out of Oak Harbor since 1990 and focuses on professional contractors.

Taylor said he researched the prices at other Home Depots in the area and found his prices are competitive to the retail giant’s prices.

As businesses wait to compete with The Home Depot, store employees are busy getting the store ready for the grand opening.

Arbogast said plants will be delivered next week closer to Thursday to ensure a fresh product. The equipment rental service won’t be available until mid-May.

The Home Depot isn’t the only business going up in the lot. Applebees will be built in front of the home improvement store and an Auto Zone will be constructed at a future date.

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