Tornado destroyed Lowe's rebuilding begins

SANFORD A groundbreaking was held at the site of the Lowes Home Improvement store on S. Horner Boulevard Wednesday.

Crews doing the heavy lifting, hauling, slicing and pouring got started on the now cleared Lowe's site shortly after sunrise.

The old site had to be cleared after a twister ripped the roof off the building.

Even though shoppers and employees were inside at the time, there were no reports of serious injures thanks to quick thinking from the store's manager Mike Hollowell. Everyone in the store that day survived by huddling in the rear of the building until the storm passed.

On Wednesday before turning a ceremonial shovelful of dirt to mark the rebuilding effort, Hollowell described the replacement store as nicer inside.

"A lot more space, since our old store was 13-years-old," Hollowell said. "So we'll have the latest and greatest."

Lowe's says the new store will have 103,000 square feet of retail sales space, with an adjacent 34,000 square-foot garden center.

Bringing back the store means 160 jobs for Sanford. Employees have been working at other locations temporarily since last month.

"I've been here 15 years and to see the store gone, it hurts," Lowe's employee Tony McKendall said. "The thing about it is, you know that the store is coming back bigger and better than ever."

Lowe's is investing more than $10 million in the new building.

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