Sutherlands new Home Base store opened March 14 in the former H-E-B site at 804 E. Business U.S. Highway 190.

The completely renovated, 49,000-square foot building features more than 60,000 home improvement products and lumber, but with a bonus — a selection of farm and ranch supplies.

“We’re a cross between a Lowe’s or Home Depot mixed with a Tractor Supply all rolled into one,” said Mark Dremel, district manager.

One unique difference is selling live chickens, along with feed for various animals.

Store employee Diana Patterson suggested the idea, since she previously worked at a feed store, and management welcomed it, making this the first Home Base store to sell live chickens.

“You never know if an idea will work until you try it, and this one has worked very well,” said Dremel. So well in fact, the store sold out of its first shipment of chickens, and is receiving 450 more chicks this week, along with 50 ducklings.

“The city and customers have been great to work with,” said store manager Juan Cruz, “everything has fallen into place,” he said.

The building was vacant for four years and renovation started in Fall 2016 gutting the entire store. It marks the 5th Home Base store in Texas for Sutherland, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017.

Other stores are located in Fort Worth, Lubbock and Amarillo and Mineral Wells, plus two stores ​in Kansas and Missouri.

A staff of more than 40 local employees, full and part time, were hired, including Melissa Taylor in the flooring department. She is excited about the new store in town.

“All the customers tell us how glad they are that we’re in Cove so they don’t have to travel to Killeen or Harker Heights anymore,” Taylor said. “It’s so convenient for them and it brings jobs to this area.”

Lampasas residents, Barbara Bragdon and Dot Compton, shopped in the garden section selecting petunias and zinnias to plant at their homes.

They took their time browsing each aisle impressed with the variety of products.

“This is our first visit to the new store, but we’ll be back often,” said Bragdon.

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