I read this in our local paper and thought I would add my 2 cents.
2 Local Lowes stores closed overnight in the Chicago area and people seemed surprised! Let’s go back 5 years, I lived in an upcoming suburb in the Chicago area and all we had was a Home Depot and a Menards about 8 miles apart on the same road. When I heard they were breaking new ground for a Lowe’s, I was excited, finally a new place to go that’s close and it was a block away from the Home Depot. Competition is always a good thing as it brings price wars and lower prices. I waited months for the store to open, when the day finally came I was one of the first people there. WOW my eyes lit up as I walked in, new products, a huge tool section, I was like a kid in a candy store. I bought my first Troy Bilt lawn mower there, which by the way is alive and well today, it’s a great mower. They had competitive prices and were well stocked. The first year I shopped there a lot, I even had a Lowes credit card and spent thousands. The return policies were great.
As time went on I started noticing the prices were creeping up, slowly at first, but then eventually to astronomical levels. I could get a 2×4 at Home Depot a block away for $1.84 and at Lowes it was $2.84. The people who worked there were getting more and more scarce. If you walk into a Home Depot there is someone with an orange apron almost in every isle, if you need something they either direct you there or call someone that can help. At Lowes? not a chance, first it would take forever to find someone and when you did they would say it’s not their department. I’m paying high prices for this? I love their slogan too “Everyday Low Prices” Where? everything is way more expensive there, I mean everything. Sure they have a low price guarantee, but who wants to purchase something there only to go to Home Depot and find out they overpaid, then go back to Lowe’s to deal with them to get credit. I know I don’t.
Every Time I went there I felt like asking a manager “why they didn’t compare prices with other hardware stores in the area”. Apparently I wasn’t alone, the Lowe’s parking lot has thinned out and been that way for several years now. Last Saturday I went to Home Depot and the lot was full, I had to traverse all the people coming to and from the garden center. Then I went to Lowes, the place was ghost town, 5 cars in the parking lot and the garden center was deserted, I mean literally deserted, no employees, nothing! I could have walked out of there with a forest and no one would have known! On a Saturday of all days!
A few weeks before that Eric and I went to Lowe’s to check it out and half of the tool shelves were empty, we even had to ask a guy if they were closing! To our surprise he said no and we were not surprised when he said they didn’t have the part we were looking for. I really wanted to see Lowe’s succeed in the area, they had a good chance. But with the continual high prices and sub par service, customers are staying away. Lowe’s is always my last ditch effort in finding something although most times I am unsuccessful and finding what I need there. It’s easy to get in and out of because it its always empty.
This is to the CEO of Lowe’s, I don’t hate Lowe’s, I really wanted this store to succeed, it’s just that you now have the reputation in our area of being overpriced and customers are not going to put up with that in this economy. I think the damage is done and it’s too late to salvage the store here. Customers will not be coming back, the high prices have scared them away. This is not only my opinion, but everyone I talk to. I am not sure if all your stores are like this, but if they are, you’re in real trouble. If the Lake in the Hills, IL store closes, we will be sad to see it go, but not surprised.