Hobby Lobby confirms it's coming to Gainesville

The Stein Mart department store will be closing in August due to under-performance, leading to about 40 job losses, shown Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 6111 West Newberry Road in Gainesville, Fla.

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 10, 2013 at 6:25 p.m.

Hobby Lobby has signed a lease to open a Gainesville store in the location currently occupied by Stein Mart at 6111 Newberry Road.

The Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts retailer plans to open the store sometime next year, spokesman Vincent Parker wrote in an email Monday.

Stein Mart plans to close its Gainesville store next to Books-A-Million on Aug. 27 after 16 years. Linda Tasseff, director of investor relations for the Jacksonville-based clothing retailer, previously told The Sun the store was not meeting expectations.

Hobby Lobby has 530 stores nationwide that carry 67,000 products in 13 departments, including floral, fabric, needlework, frames, art, hobbies, wearables, jewelry, crafts, cards and party, scrapbooking, seasonal and home accents. Many items in the stores are manufactured by Hobby Lobby at its facility in Oklahoma City. The closest store to Gainesville is in Ocala.

The stores offer space for arts and crafts classes. Classrooms are offered free of charge to teachers, but students are required to use products purchased in the stores.

Parker said the store manager and co-manager usually would train in other stores and that the store would hire 30 to 50 local employees. Full-time employees start at $14 an hour, and part-time employees start at $9.50 an hour. Hiring will not start until a month before opening, and the jobs are advertised in newspaper classified sections, he said.

Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. is owned by the Green family, which started 43 years ago by building mini picture frames in the garage of their Oklahoma City home. The stores still include custom frame departments.

“The foundation of our business has been and will continue to be strong values based on biblical principles, including integrity, service to others and giving back to those in need,” Parker wrote.

The owners' biblical principles have been in the news after the company asked a federal appeals court last month for an exemption to the part of the Affordable Care Act that requires coverage for the morning-after pill, saying emergency contraception is tantamount to abortion.

Hobby Lobby stores are not open on Sundays.

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