By Gary Mitchell
Another major chain has selected Clovis for the site of a new store.
Hobby Lobby Creative Center officials announced Monday plans to open an arts and crafts retail store in Clovis in the former Kmart. Officials said construction will begin soon and the store will be open by this fall.
The seventh Hobby Lobby store in New Mexico, the arts and crafts retail center will employ 50 to 55 people from the Clovis area, officials said.
“Clovis was chosen for this location due to favorable demographics and a quality location in a high-traffic area with easy accessibility,” said Bill Hane, vice-president for advertising for Hobby Lobby. “Clovis is a regional hub, and we do well in single-store markets that are regional hubs in the area. Some of our stronger stores are in markets of that size. We look at shopping area retail dollars spent in a community.”
Hobby Lobby operates 302 stores in 26 states, Hane said.
Company officials plan to open 25 new stores this year and expand or relocate 14 stores to larger facilities.
“Hobby Lobby has grown from a one-store operation in Oklahoma City in August of 1972 into the country’s most complete arts and crafts retail operation,” Hane said. “Each store stocks more than 60,000 items. In addition to traditional lines of art, craft, hobby and seasonal supplies, a large staff of buyers travel the world for unique home interior accents, fabrics, pottery, floral and furniture items.”
Other major retail/restaurant chains either making a move or planning a move to the Clovis area recently include:
• Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. is progressing on its new store construction at the corner of Prince and Llano Estacado streets, behind the Golden Corral restaurant.
The building will be approximately 135,000 square feet. Officials said a Lowe’s of this size normally employs an average of 150 people.
The Clovis store will have a 94,000 square-foot-sales floor and will sell gardening supplies, raw lumber, plumbing, lighting and appliances.
The land deal was closed in April with Clovis developer Bill Giese.
• Meanwhile, the Rib Crib, a new, full-service barbecue and rib restaurant at 4020 N. Prince St., opened its doors to the public in May.
• In addition, a new Chili’s restaurant may be heading to Clovis, soon after the Lowe’s construction is completed, Giese said.
“Chili’s is on hold until the Lowe’s construction is completed, and everything is cleared out of the way,” the Clovis developer said. “I’ve been told it’s a done deal that Chili’s is coming here.”
“Clovis is definitely a city on the move,” said Ernie Kos, executive director of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce. “Success breeds success. We’ve got a lot of exciting things happening — we’ve had a dozen ribbon cuttings for new businesses developing in the area. The retail community is definitely developing.”