A different type of Home Depot opened in April in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The operation represents a departure from the typical big box store the company is well-known for.

"A regular Home Depot just wouldn't fit here," said Jim Warrington, global product merchant. "We had to take a regular store and shrink it down."

The Lincoln Park Home Depot is the company's first two-story store, with roughly 40,000 sq. ft. of space on each level. The hardware, plumbing and building materials departments take up much of the first floor, while home d¿r including appliances, lamps and window treatments are on the second floor.

Since street parking is at a premium, the new store features two levels of parking for 150 cars.

The store is actually the company's third such urban outlet, following similar stores in Brooklyn and Staten Island, both opening last year.

Company executives on hand for a special media tour of the Lincoln Park store said, however, the two New York stores were "well-studied experiments" and that the Chicago store represents what they learned needed to be done to operate a scaled-down Home Depot.

"By carefully choosing the merchandise that is in demand within the neighborhood, we can get the job done extremely well in a smaller store," added Ken D'Anastasio, product merchant.

A tour of the facility indicates how the company fine-tuned this new approach. The store essentially focuses on products and services more in line with city living. For example, with pint-sized lawns common, you won't find any riding lawn mowers for sale. But you will find several models of push mowers.

More importantly to our readers, a bath and kitchen design center, located on the second floor, includes cabinets and fixtures aimed at smaller baths and kitchens found in the area's townhomes and vintage apartments turned condos.

Company executives said the store is focused on serving the "cash and carry" needs of the immediate area. The ideal customers would walk in and walk out with what they need. The company offers delivery services for larger orders, and customers also will be able to buy from other larger Home Depots and arrange for pickups or deliveries.