BOONE — The former JCPenney space in Boone Mall will be home to the High Country’s first Hobby Lobby, the largest privately owned arts-and-crafts retailer in the world.
“I can confirm that Hobby Lobby plans to open a store in Boone,” said Bob Miller, communications coordinator with Hobby Lobby. “The projected opening date is January 2019.”
An initial lease agreement for 12 years, and extendable for up to 15 more, was signed by Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Libby Boone Enterprises LLC, on Jan. 18 for the 50,891-square-foot space.
The nationwide craft and home decor retailer has been recently expanding, growing to 791 stores by the end of 2017, according to its corporate newsroom. Out of those locations, 51 were opened in 2017.
Founded in 1970 and based out of Oklahoma City, Hobby Lobby says it’s primarily an arts-and-crafts store but also includes hobbies, picture framing, jewelry making, fabrics, floral and wedding supplies, cards and party ware, baskets, wearable art, home accents and holiday merchandise.
The company says it bases its core values on Christian beliefs and operates “in a manner consistent with Biblical principles,” which it says is why it chooses to close stores on Sundays.
The store has been in the news in recent years. Its fight against Affordable Care Act-mandated coverage of a few types of contraception, such as the “morning after” pill, reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014, which the company ultimately won when the court ruled that certain employers with religious objections aren’t required to cover contraceptives, according to media reports.
Last year, the company paid a $3 million fine when the U.S. Justice Department determined it had acquired illegally smuggled Iraqi artifacts, according to media reports. In a statement, the company said that it did not purchase items from dealers in Iraq nor did anyone indicate the items were acquired from that country, but that it “should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled.”