By Nathan Mayberg
KIAMESHA LAKE December 5, 2003 This is like Field of Dreams, said Anthony Cellini, supervisor of the Town of Thompson, on Wednesday. This is incredible.
Like in the movie, if you build it, they will come. And come they did.
Upwards of 2,000 people overflowed the parking lot Wednesday night for the grand opening ceremony at Home Depot, adjacent to ShopRite at Thompson Square on Route 42 in Kiamesha Lake. The event was called "Neighborhood Night."
The store served a free buffet that was supplied by Ninas Ristorante in Loch Sheldrake, as well as cake, coffee and hot chocolate.
And store officials made two large donations at the ceremony. CASA House, a childrens home, received $1,500 from the corporation. Habitat for Humanity had two 15-foot puppets on hand and were given a donation of $1,000 plus free merchandise, according to Alison Cariasqillo, front end manager, who moved from Wappingers Falls to work at this new store.
The $10 million, 120,000-square-foot building is a department store for virtually all home building and repair needs. Home Depot has hired approximately 110 workers, 85 of whom are from the Sullivan County area, according to Jeff Cirelli, the store manager. The other 25 workers were brought in from surrounding stores in Orange, Ulster and Dutchess counties. About 65 of the workers are full-time, while the rest are part-time.
Supervisor Cellini told the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that he is proud that one of the nations largest retailers had come to the town.
"This is only the beginning. There is much more to come," he said.
Gary Lothrop of Helpful Hands in Monticello bought a hand planer kit, sawblades and molding. He said that Home Depot had "nice stores. It is nice to have one here."
Ernie St. Andt, Regional Safety Manager for Home Depot, called it "quite a turnout. The people make the store, not the management."
The grand opening itself was officially held yesterday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The regular business hours for Home Depot will be Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will be closed only on Christmas and Thanksgiving.