The parking lot anywhere near Hobby Lobby was packed Monday.
So was the store.
But even before Hobby Lobby celebrated its grand opening with a Monday morning ribbon cutting, thousands of shoppers already had made their way through the store during its soft opening this past Friday and Saturday.
“It has been a tremendous turnout,” store Manager Matthew Foster said. “We are very happy with the amount of folks who have come out to see us today. We did tremendously well over the weekend with our soft opening.
“We did a lot of business and helped a lot of folks.”
The soft opening also helps to work out the kinks, Foster said.
It is a good way for employees make sure they know what they doing, how to do it properly and how to greet people and work with the public, he said.
“We didn’t have any issues, which was great, and it just made today so much easier,” Foster said.
There were no “big flares and gimmicks” for the grand opening, he said. The company simply puts its products and basic sales out to the public, he said.
That is what the public wants — no nonsense, just normal operating business, Foster said.
“We have an app that you can download,” he said. “It always gives you the most current ad. It gives you access to our coupons and special promotions that we are running at any time.”
Hobby Lobby renovated the approximately 53,000-square-foot former Kmart building and currently has between 45 and 60 employees.
The company is known for selling an abundance of crafting and home decor products.
“We beat our competitors because we carry everything that a craft store should carry,” Foster said. “It’s like I tell my wife, we were avid shoppers before I started with company rather — we go from what I call the production side which is floral, fabric and our frame shop into our home decor.
“We also have the art and hobbies. We also have crafts, jewelry, wearables and a massive seasonal department that as you see takes up about a quarter of the store. That is constantly in flux, constantly changing with new product coming in as product goes out. So we try to carry a little bit of everything. We try to touch into all interests.”
The staff is also well trained to answer customers’ questions and to assist them in making selections and even suggesting what they might need in the future as they pursue their interest, Foster said.
Hobby Lobby is an Oklahoma City-based company with more than 800 stores across the nation. In 2018, the company opened 54 new stores and relocated 20, Hobby Lobby officials said.
The company plans to open 65 new store locations and relocate 16 in 2019, which will create nearly 3,000 new jobs.
Hobby Lobby currently has 30 locations in North Carolina, including Wilson, Greenville and Rocky Mount.
Store hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.