Home Depot goes Hollywood with Pinewood store

Home Depot is opening a new store in south metro Atlanta next month, but the public won’t be allowed to shop there.

The Atlanta home improvement chain has built a 45,000-square-foot store dedicated solely to Pinewood Studios, the British filmmaker behind James Bond and the Harry Potter series, and its associates.

“It’s a new venture for us,” said J.T. Rieves, vice president of pro business for the retailer. “What they (Pinewood Studios) are trying to do is to create a level of control of predictability for someone who wants to make a movie.”

Pinewood is building a movie studio, its first in the United States, on more than 220 acres in Fayette County. The dedicated Home Depot store will open April 3.

Operating a store for one customer is new for Home Depot and could lead to duplicate strategies with other studios or in other industries if it works, Rieves said. About 30 percent of a movie’s budget is materials, he said.

The building — which will resemble a warehouse, without the usual store markings — is much smaller than an average Home Depot. The chain’s stores run from 60,000- to 150,000-square-feet with an additional 15,000-to-25,000-square-foot garden centers.

One challenge will be making sure the store has the materials the studio might need ‘round the clock, Rieves said. Traditional supplies — nails, wood, paint — won’t be a problem, but it will be harder if the studio blows up more-difficult-to-get materials in a scene that a director later thinks needs to be re-shot and needs new supplies at a moment’s notice.

“We may really have to stretch ourselves,” said Rieves.

The studio is projected to create 3,400 jobs over the next decade. The Pinewood Home Depot location will only need a handful of employees, Rieves said.

Home Depot recently opened a nearby fulfillment center in Locust Grove. The 1 million-square-foot facility will initially employ 125 people, with that number expected to grow to 300, the company said.