DOORS OPEN AT HOMEBASE
By LYNETTE SOWELL
As of Tuesday morning, the lights are on, merchandise is stocked on the shelves, lumber is stacked, the baby chicks are peeping and the gardening center is open at the HomeBase store, located at the former site H-E-B on Business 190.
City of Copperas Cove department heads, city council members, as well as members of city-appointed boards had the opportunity to attend a walk-through reception on Monday afternoon to check out the new store and to visit with employees and company representatives.
Five Hills Art Guild members also attended, with the new mural at the store’s entrance now completed as the first partnership with a group in the community and the new store.
Descendants of Sutherlands’ founders flew in from Kansas City to be present for the store’s opening.
Joel McLiney is the self-described president of HomeBase stores and flew in with his father from Kansas City.
“I wanted to say how great the community here has been to us. We couldn’t ask for a better place to be in business than here,” McLiney said. “This is our group’s fifth store in Texas, and my great-grandfather started the business 100 years ago. There’s a lot of family in the business.”
It’s taken about a year for the Copperas Cove’s HomeBase to get to this point, McLiney added. One of the things the company is about is finding out what its customers want.
“We want to tailor what we have to the community’s needs,” McLiney said. “We have some interesting new products that we’ve never carried before. For example, the live chickens and feed. We’ve never had chickens before. That’s what we’re about. We’re willing to go where we need to go, to have what people need.”
Having feed and chickens is thanks to store employee Diana Patterson, McLiney said, something the store decided to carry at her encouragement. The store also sells bee keeping equipment, animal feed and some pet supplies.
This is the fifth HomeBase store in the state of Texas, said McLiney.
Other HomeBase stores are located in Amarillo, Fort Worth, Mineral Wells and Lubbock. There are stores located in Nevada, Mo. and Ottawa, Kan.
It took a good six months to transform the building into a home improvement and lumber store, both inside and out, after the deal was closed with the real estate agent.
The road to the former grocery store becoming a home improvement and lumber store took nearly four years, with H-E-B putting a 55-year deed restriction on the property sale, barring any type of grocery store, fuel, car wash or pharmacy operating at that location.
The City of Copperas Cove and the HomeBase parent company, Sutherland Building Material Centers, LP, have a 380 economic development agreement which was approved by the city council in September 2016. The agreement, which goes through Dec. 31, 2032, requires the company to create at least 25 full-time jobs with an annual average salary of $24,947 in 2017, put a minimum of $300,000 into the property, and when fully developed, the property must have a minimum value of $2,250,000 to be maintained throughout the life of the agreement.
In exchange, the city will give Sutherland Building Material Centers payments of 40 percent of the sales tax revenue and 40 percent of the property tax revenue, not to exceed $823,251 during the agreement.
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