The wait is nearly over for Bowling Green arts and crafts lovers.
Hobby Lobby, the Oklahoma-based retailer specializing in supplies for crafts and hobbies, is days away from completing its move from its location at 1751 Scottsville Road to slightly bigger and more visible quarters at 2945 Scottsville Road.
An email from the privately held company’s news media relations office said: “We are currently projecting to open in our new location on Feb. 10.”
The new location, in a portion of the former Bowling Green Kmart store, is part of a Hobby Lobby growth strategy that is at odds with the current climate that has seen many retail chains retrenching as their business is eroded by online shopping. The company, launched with a single location in 1972, has added more than 100 total new locations over the past two years and relocated many more.
Hobby Lobby is now up to more than 850 stores and 37,500 employees across 46 states.
The typical Hobby Lobby store is about 55,000 square feet, but this one could be slightly larger. The Kmart that was closed in 2017 was 90,375 square feet, and Hobby Lobby is expected to occupy about two-thirds of that space. An expansion of the adjacent Kroger grocery store will take the remaining space.
“They should gain some floor space, and that’s a good thing,” said Warren County resident Voletta Havener, a regular Hobby Lobby customer who has taught classes at the current location. “It’s closer to the interstate, so it should be a better location and help boost their business.”
The Hobby Lobby renovation isn’t the only construction work going on at the site. Kroger is expanding into a portion of the former Kmart, and a member of Cincinnati-based Kroger’s corporate affairs department expects the $12.5 million expansion to be completed soon.
“We hope to open the new side of the store by late January or early February,” Melissa Eads said in an email. “Overall completion will be sometime this summer.”
Eads said the expansion will take the Scottsville Road Kroger to “just over 100,000 square feet” and will include one new entrance.
“It will feel like a brand-new store,” Eads said. “It will allow us to have larger departments. Everything will grow.”
Eads said the expansion will create more than 30 jobs. The Kroger will add a Murray’s Specialty cheese shop and a Starbucks coffee shop.
The refurbished Kroger will also have expanded departments, wider aisles, additional self-checkout lanes, a new storefront and a remodeled pharmacy.
It is one of three Kroger locations in Bowling Green, and Eads doesn’t expect that number to grow.
“We do not have any further plans for expanding in Bowling Green,” she said.