Lowe's, Lehighton, held its grand opening ceremony on Thursday morning by having a grant recipient saw a painted board with the words Lowe's of Lehighton engraved on it in half.

Kerry Collins, store manager, said that Lowe's opened last Thursday, but this was the official grand opening celebration of events.

"We are opening our store by giving the Lehighton Area School District $1,000," said Collins, as he handed Jonathan J. Cleaver, curriculum director, an oversized check.

After presenting the check to Cleaver, he handed Cleaver the saw and asked him to cut the board to officially open the store.

Cleaver sawed a few times and the board broke cleanly in half.

"I've always wanted one of these big checks," chuckled Cleaver, adding that the funds will be put to good use in the high school.

Cleaver said that he is pleased to have Lowe's as presence in the community.

"We welcome you to the school district and the community," said Cleaver. "We are hoping to have our students in a job shadowing program and we want our students to gain the skills they need to work in this job environment. We're looking forward to a long relationship."

Collins also noted that Lehighton Downtown Initiative Committee and Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley are also benefiting from grand opening grant awards.

"We have a promotion going on through Sunday that if you buy a Lowe's gift card during our celebration we will give matching dollars to Habitat for Humanity, for up to $5,000," said Collins. LDIC also will receive $2,500 to help improve downtown Lehighton,

Also, customers can sign up for a chance to receive a $100 gift card, with five being drawn daily until Sunday. On Sunday a grand prize gift card of $500 will be given away. Along with special sales throughout the store, there will be youth classes at 10 a.m. Saturday, where children can make a small wood project.

Collins noted that Lowe's has donated $30 million this year to communities where their stores are located,.

"We have donated $2.4 million alone to Pennsylvania," said Collins. Collins added that Lowe's has Charitable and Education Fund grants available in the communities they serve.

Collins also noted that Lowe's has hired 125 people, with a majority of whom are full time employees.

"We want our store to be a one-stop source for all their home improvement needs," said Collins. "Our store is helping the tax base and we created a lot of new jobs."

Collins said that hopefully this store will be good for business in Lehighton.

The store has a variety of home improvement products for homes, including lumber, drywall, appliances, plumbing supplies, paint, garden center, electrical supplies, hardware and more.

Collins said that the Lehighton community has made him feel extremely welcome.

"We've been enthusiastically welcomed by the community, city leaders and customers," said Collins. "I am very excited to be in Lehighton."

Lowe's, Lehighton, is located at 1204 Blakeslee Boulevard Drive East, Lehighton. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For additional information, call (570) 453-1500.

Collins said that Lowe's opened its first store 60 years ago in Wilkesboro, N.C. and has grown to have 1,725 stores throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Attending the grand opening board cutting were Grant Hunsicker and Scott Rehrig, Lehighton Borough Council; Paul Mriss, Lehighton Fire Company safety officer; Jack Sturm, vice chairman of Carbon County Chamber of Commerce; Todd Zimmerman, Frank Potozak and Marylou Harvan, LDIC; Lewis Exner Sr., president, Mahoning Valley Ambulance; Ken Barnes, Mahoning Township chief of police; George Stawnyczyj, Mahoning Township supervisor; LeRoy Liebenguth, Mahoning Township zoning officer; Jay Michalik, assistant chief, Mahoning Township Fire Co.; Mark Ebbert, fire chief, Mahoning Fire Company; Charles Eidem, Mahoning Township; and Bob Duld, executive director, American Red Cross.