Lowe's Still Major Employer in Founding Town
PHOTO CREDIT: Wendy Jo O'Barr
The very first Lowe's opened as a small hardware store in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, and the business grew steadily thanks to the post-World War II building boom.
Today, Lowe's operates more than 1,750 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with 245,000 employees serving 15 million North America customers each week. In North Carolina alone, 23,000 employees work in stores, distribution centers and customer support centers.
Wilkesboro is home to one of Lowe's three Customer Support Centers – the other two centers are in Mooresville, N.C., and Albuquerque, N.M. – and the company remains a top employer in Wilkes County. In fact, its 2,200 employees working at the Customer Support Center in Wilkesboro make Lowe's the second-largest employer in Wilkes County, behind Tyson.
Of those 2,200 Lowe's employees, about 1,300 work in jobs that support the company's efforts in information technology, accounting, transportation, logistics, human resources and real estate, and the other 900 employees work in the contact center.
Campus Covers 44 Acres
The Customer Support Center in Wilkesboro is actually housed in the former Wilkesboro Mall, a building that Lowe's purchased in the late 1990s. The building underwent major renovations and modernization since that time, and today covers 432,000 square feet. In all, the CSC-Wilkesboro campus spans approximately 44 acres and includes a cafeteria, coffee shop and an outdoor walking trail that stretches nearly one mile in length.
As for future Customer Support Center opportunities, Lowe's officials point out that new positions are added on a frequent basis to the CSC-Wilkesboro facility. For example, the company added 175 new contact center jobs in the summer of 2012.
"We are always looking for employees who are committed to providing outstanding customer service. Open positions are announced and resumes accepted online at www.lowes.com/careers," says Don Easterling, vice president of the contact center.
Lowe's gives back to the community primarily through its Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, which has provided nearly $4 million in donations to public schools and community improvement projects throughout the country since 2000. That includes more than $500,000 to the Wilkes County Schools system for technology.
"Lowe's is committed to recognizing and supporting efforts that enrich the lives of our neighbors and customers," says Marshall Croom, chairman of Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "By supporting projects in our hometown, we are contributing to causes that are important to our customers and employees, and helping build brighter futures for our neighbors."
Lowe's contributes about $330,000 to Wilkesboro-area causes each year for community improvement and public school projects, with a committee of civic leaders in Wilkes County making recommendations for funding to Lowe's.
One example of a contribution that Lowe's made in 2013 is $25,000 to Wilkes Community College to purchase hydraulic compressors for WCC's new Automotive Technology Complex. The equipment will allow students to lift vehicles, thereby providing a more realistic, hands-on learning environment in the classroom.