Lori Wilkins was the first customer to walk through the doors Monday during the grand opening of Hobby Lobby in Olympia.
The Puyallup resident said she plans to shop at the store quite a bit because it’s close to her daughter’s home. She has shopped at Hobby Lobby in other areas of the country and described it as “the best store ever.”
“They have everything you would want for your home, crafting, your kids, the holidays — everything,” the 55-year-old said.
Before the doors opened at 9 a.m., dozens of employees joined a crowd of nearly 100 customers for photos and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Jesse Grandstaff with the Oklahoma City-based retailer’s management ministries, began the event with a prayer.
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“God, this morning we’re thankful for Hobby Lobby, and what they stand for,” he prayed.
The 55,000-square-foot retail store is in the former Kmart building at 4141 Martin Way E., where Martin intersects with Sleater-Kinney Road. It features more than 70,000 crafting and home décor products in its store, from scrapbook supplies and jewelry-making items to custom frames and fabric, according to a news release.
“It’s one of the world’s biggest creation centers,” store manager Mike Trudnak said.
The chain keeps all of its nearly 650 stores closed on Sundays, and attracted controversy over its objections to providing insurance coverage for some contraceptives.
“What I love about the store is the fact that it is a Christian-based store with high values,” cashier Debbie Burdick of Olympia said. “And (it’s) a warm, peaceful, inviting place to shop.”
Cassandra Smith, 31, a paraeducator with North Thurston Public Schools, said she’s been driving to Tacoma to pick up craft supplies at Hobby Lobby. She said she’s glad she won’t have to do that anymore.
“I can spend hours in here,” she said.
Several people at the grand opening said they had eagerly awaited the opening of Olympia’s store.
“It’s a crafter’s heaven,” said Linda Fox, 67, of Olympia.
“And a husband’s nightmare,” quipped Sarah Waterhouse, 33, of Olympia.