Friday, October 19, 2018

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Hobby Lobby to occupy Macy’s spot at Oakwood Mall

Retailer expected to open next summer

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    Next summer, Hobby Lobby is expected to open in a portion of a vacant anchor store spot at Oakwood Mall that had been occupied by Macy’s until March 26.

    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik
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A national arts-and-crafts retailer is moving into a vacant anchor spot in Eau Claire’s premier mall and plans to open next year.

Construction in the former Macy’s anchor store at Oakwood Mall will begin later this year in preparation for Hobby Lobby’s opening in summer, according to a statement from mall owner Chicago-based GGP.

“With the positive response we’ve received in our 19 Wisconsin stores, we believe the Oakwood Mall in Eau Claire will be an excellent location,” Hobby Lobby spokesman Bob Miller said in the statement.

Until it closed in March, Macy’s had occupied one of the mall’s five large anchor spots. Hobby Lobby will take up about two-thirds of the vacant 100,000-square-foot store space, according to mall manager Betsy Maher. A tenant for the remaining space in the former Macy’s has not yet been found.

In addition to Hobby Lobby, Maher noted another new Oakwood Mall tenant, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, is coming soon.

Hobby Lobby, which is headquartered in Oklahoma City, is a privately owned chain of 791 arts and crafts stores in 47 states, according to the company’s website. The nearest Hobby Lobby stores currently are in the Twin Cities area, Rice Lake and La Crosse.

Hobby Lobby opened 51 new stores this year, and the company’s website says it plans to continue that growth trend in 2018.

Aside from its wares, the company became known for a legal battle its devout Christian leaders took to the U.S. Supreme Court three years ago. Hobby Lobby won that landmark case with a 5-4 decision that the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that companies include contraception in their employee health insurance plans violated their religious freedom.

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