Stocking the store at Hobby Lobby

Monday, June 26, 2017

Employees work to prepare for June 30 opening

By MARK NEWMAN
Courier staff writer

Manager David Schwartz is impressed with the employees setting up inside the new Hobby Lobby store on Quincy Avenue. He has no question the store will be ready to open on June 30, as scheduled.

Those who’ve regularly shopped at a Hobby Lobby won’t be shocked when they go into the store that day. Those who thought it was simply a store that sold yarn may be stunned.

One of the most common customer comments Schwartz hears come from men who may be in the store waiting for their wives to shop.

"They’re prepared to just wait around, then they see this," he said, pointing out a black Batman painted onto a yellow background.

It’s over in the part of the store nicknamed "the men’s section."

Schwartz said Hobby Lobby has many types of customers. But two major categories might be: those who want to purchase a nice quality, nicely priced and stylish item. Secondly are the crafters intent not just on having a nice item but creating it themselves.

So while there are decorated nutcrackers at one end of the store, there are plain nutcrackers — ready to be given life — on the other side of the shop.

Some projects take an expert, however — or at least someone with some skill. Custom framing is that kind of effort.

"That’s why I’m training Nick," said Schwartz.

Nick Tucker will be handling that! department for customers. However, one of the largest areas o! f the store is strictly for the crafty: The fabric department has bolts of various materials and design plus rolls of fabric ready to be cut to order. When looking around the Ottumwa Hobby Lobby, one similarity to the fabric aisles becomes obvious: Colors are used to keep the shopping experience interesting.

The paper crafting aisle has enough "card stock" to send greetings to an entire school.

"There is every kind of pattern," Schwartz said.

"Marvel, sports, camouflage …" The wall of one aisle has row after row of stickers, another has tissue paper and gift wrap.

Crafters, especially those who like to give their items as gifts, or sell them at fairs, operate on a different schedule from the general public.

"We have our fall seasonal out now," Schwartz said, pointing out the scarecrows and pumpkins. "And Hobby Lobby starts putting out Christmas on May 1st."

It’s not because they want to sell a few more ornaments, said Schwartz.

"Crafters need time to make their [inventory of handmade] goods," he said.

"They want to sell them [at craft fairs] ahead of the holiday."

Schwartz said starting at 9 a.m. the Friday they open, he expects to have maps of the inside of the store.

It will list goods which include cases of artificial flowers, greeting cards and a corner of the store dedicated to furniture.

Various departments will have sales; some sections will have a 50 percent off sale every other week. What some people don’t realize, Schwartz said, is if there is an item you just "can’t wait" to buy, you can still get a discount.

"You can get the Hobby Lobby [smartphone] app, or get on the email list. You get one 40 percent off coupon to use on a single item. Pull it up on your phone and the cashier will scan it in."

All 750 Hobby Lobby stores remain closed on Sundays. They also have their own "minimum wage," with the CEO mandating that full-time hourly employees receive more than $15 per hour.

They do a few other things differently than most stores, too, some of which revolve around the familyowned company’s belief in "operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles."

"They live their values," Schwartz said.

Reporter Mark Newman can be contacted at mnewman@ ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @couriermark.

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Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation 217 East Main Street Ottumwa, Iowa  52501
Phone 641-682-3465 Fax 641-682-3466 info@ottumwaiowa.com