Photo courtesy of Home Depot

Nearly a year in the making, the Home Depot’s Forest Lane location reopened to the public at long last on Oct. 8. 

Store manager Jonathan Shields said the Home Depot’s presence in Preston Hollow and other nearby North Dallas communities can’t be understated.

“When we’re in an area, we become entrenched in the community. The community depends on us and we depend on them,” he said. 

Their location at 11682 Forest Central Dr. was decimated by an EF-3 tornado on Oct. 20, 2019. Luckily, no one at the store was injured. According to D Magazine, operations manager Jordan Jasper saw the severe weather reports that afternoon and decided to close the store early. He and nine other associates working that day dodged the tornado by about an hour.

Shields says the day after the tornado hit, members of the corporate executive leadership team were at the Forest Lane location, walking the site and putting plans in place on what the rebuild process might look like. The store also got to work helping its employees.

“One of the things I love about this company is the way it takes care of its people,” Shields says. “The tornado came in on a Sunday night; on Monday morning our HR team was already placing our associates in other stores, allowing them to choose which store would be best for them.”

Shields says around 50 of the location’s former employees are back, and the store has hired an additional 150 people with plans to continue hiring up to 50 more. In keeping with social distancing and safety concerns around COVID-19, the store has been utilizing a training center off Forest Lane to conduct hiring interviews and orientations. The pandemic also affected how the store handled its reopening.

“We didn’t do a lot of advertising around the opening because we wanted to make sure we stay safe and maintain social distancing,” Shields says. “That’s been very important to Home Depot through this whole process. We didn’t want to draw in large crowds at a given time. Surprisingly, though, our customers immediately started coming back.”

One customer even expressed their appreciation at the store’s reopening in an unexpected way.

“We actually had a lady that brought us two cakes— one said ‘congratulations on the rebuild’ and the other said ‘we’re happy to see you here on the first day,’” he says. “A lot of our customers and members of this community are happy that we’re back. We have a very loyal customer base here.”

Rebuilding has allowed for a number of upgrades throughout the store. “It’s a huge game changer for us. It’s all built around speed and convenience for our customers,” Shields says. New and improved flooring, kitchen design and appliance showrooms are among improvements, along wiht upgraded checkout and customer service areas that allow for faster service. Greater storage space at the facility also gives customers the option to buy online and pick up their purchases in store.

Moving forward, Shields hopes their store can reestablish and strengthen their ties to the area.

“We hope to continue to build a bond with our community and show the community that we’re here to support them, not just here for them to support us,” he says.

Photos courtesy of Home Depot