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Hobby Lobby plans to open at Cottonwood

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When the owners of Cottonwood Mall last October said they were planning to redevelop the vacant storefront formerly owned by Macy’s, they were mum on the names of any future prospects.

Now it looks like a new Hobby Lobby store will be filling some of that retail hole.

Mall owner Washington Prime Group on Tuesday confirmed that the Oklahoma-based arts and crafts retailer will join the tenant lineup at the mall, occupying 53,800 square feet. Details regarding the Hobby Lobby grand opening, as well as information regarding other new retailers at Cottonwood Mall, will be shared in the future, but in a previous news release, Washington Prime said it was targeting off-price retailers and home furnishings sellers.

“We are excited to welcome Hobby Lobby to Cottonwood Mall,” said B Janecka, general manager of the shopping center. “Our continued investment in the center reflects our commitment to the community and our ongoing focus on providing our guests with an increasingly dynamic environment in which to shop, dine and spend time together.”

The mall owner said last October that the price tag to remodel the former 164,800-square-foot box was $21 million.

Hobby Lobby has more than 800 stores across the nation, including nine in New Mexico, and appears to be keen on the Land of Enchantment for new store rollouts.

According to the White Sands Mall Facebook page, Hobby Lobby will have a soft opening at the Alamogordo shopping center on May 14. And earlier this year, the chain also confirmed that it’s heading to the Las Estancias shopping center in the South Valley in 2019, where it plans to open a 55,000-square-foot store.

It was not clear Tuesday what would happen with the company’s existing West Side store off Eagle Ranch Road.

Calls to Hobby Lobby corporate offices seeking comment were not returned, but in previous news articles, the company said it hires between 35 and 50 people to staff each store.

According to the company website, each Hobby Lobby store offers more than 70,000 crafting and home decor products including floral, fabric, needle art, custom framing, baskets, home accents, wearable art, arts and crafts, jewelry making, scrapbooking and paper crafting supplies.

Though some traditional retailers have struggled against online operators, Hobby Lobby has largely charged ahead, saying it plans to open 60 stores this year and hire as many as 2,500 new workers.

Retail analysts say customers will head to brick-and-mortar outlets for something they can’t get online: tactile experience. Hobby Lobby certainly fills the bill on that front, with the company drawing people for its many craft classes.

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