Tooling Around New York

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," September 9, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: As if this guy wasn’t busy enough keeping up with demand in the areas where hurricanes have caused a great deal of damage here, he’s kicking it up another notch. This time, Manhattan style.

Home Depot will debut its first store in the Big Apple Friday morning, giving the city its own makeover. Try at least 300 new jobs for starters. With us now from the brand new store is Bob Nardelli himself. He’s the chairman of Home Depot.

Mr. Nardelli, thank you for coming.

ROBERT NARDELLI, HOME DEPOT CHAIRMAN & CEO (HD): Thank you, Neil, for the opportunity.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, you guys have been busier than ever, particularly in Florida, with the hurricane demands and what have you, now maybe yet all over again. Obviously you can’t keep stuff on your shelves long enough. You see this continuing?

NARDELLI: Well, we do, Neil. Unfortunately, those poor citizens in Florida appear that they could be hit again.

You know, we have been running our control center, command center out of Atlanta, Georgia. I was in there Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and I just want to thank all of our associates who worked tirelessly to make sure that we were in a position to put merchandise on the shelves both pre and post-hurricane.

CAVUTO: A couple of your stores also got walloped by the storm, but you decided to keep them open. I know a lot of goods are being sold outside. Are you planning do that all over again if Ivan is as bad as they say it might?

NARDELLI: Absolutely. Yes.

You know, Neil, one of the wonderful things about this company, Home Depot, is its culture. And we tend to shine our brightest unfortunately when sometimes our customers are facing their darkest period.

We stayed open longer than any store. And I’m so proud of the fact the next morning we had 126 stores open. We had one that really got hit in Stewart (ph), but in spite of that, Neil, we opened up temporary quarters out in the parking lot. We have temporary registers.

And I would tell that you the governor and his administration have worked seamlessly with us in cooperating with special permits and the opportunity to serve that customer base down there. It’s -- it’s really been a phenomenal experience, you know, for them.

And, you know, for the first time in the history of our company, we actually pulled product as far west as California, Seattle and New England to bring in all of the pre and post-hurricane merchandise. For example, generators are in heavy demand, chainsaws, tarps, plywood, water, all of those things that are so crucial for these residents to be able to get their lives back together again.

CAVUTO: All right. Back to why you’re here in New York. It seems an odd location, Manhattan, but obviously you figure the demand is there.

NARDELLI: Neil, this is a wonderful location. And you probably can hear the store is abuzz already. We will open tomorrow morning, but a lot of thought went in to this selection, Neil.

I think what you see here is the culmination of the entrepreneurial spirit of Home Depot and the innovation that we have been working on the last couple of years. We did tremendous amount of market research and customer focus groups. They said they wanted distinctive and innovative merchandise.

CAVUTO: Right.

NARDELLI: They wanted convenience of location. They wanted state-of-the-art format. And we brought all that together to serve three million residents here in the Manhattan area.

CAVUTO: OK. Well, congratulations, welcome to the Big Apple. Of course, it’s not as if you’re a stranger to it.

But Bob Nardelli, at Home Depot, the chairman and CEO, welcome, sir. Appreciate it.

NARDELLI: Thank you, Neil. And we look forward to seeing you in the store.

CAVUTO: Well, I don’t know about that. I’m not so handy.

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