The grand opening of Hobby Lobby in Maple Grove on Monday will mark the eighth Minnesota location for the crafts and home decor retailer, which may open as many as eight to 10 more stores in the Twin Cities market.
"We feel blessed for the fantastic opportunity to be part of this community," John Schumacher, assistant vice president of advertising, said in a statement.
The family-owned company known for its evangelical Christian orientation already has locations in Blaine, Maplewood and Woodbury, as well as Rochester, Duluth and Bemidji. It opened its first Minnesota store in Mankato in 2000.
Hobby Lobby typically comes in to saturate a market, said Dave Brennan, co-director of the University of St. Thomas Institute for Retailing Excellence.
"They make it more difficult for Michaels and Jo-Ann to compete," he said. "I haven't seen any fallout yet, but I expect some attrition." Michaels operates 19 Twin Cities locations and Jo-Ann has 10.
Michaels and Hobby Lobby overlap with about 80 percent of their merchandise, Brennan said. The large format stores averaging 55,000 square feet offer picture frames, artificial floral displays and baskets, and jewelry-making, scrapbooking and knitting supplies.
Nationwide, Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby has 659 locations in 47 states. Michaels runs 1,177 stores in 49 states and Jo-Ann 850 stores in 49 states.
Consumers who don't frequent crafts stores are still likely to be familiar with Hobby Lobby after the company's successful lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act mandate that family-owned companies must provide contraceptive coverage for their workers. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby last year on grounds of religious freedom.
The family led by David Green, founder and CEO of the company, is establishing an $800 million Bible museum within two blocks of the National Mall in Washington. It is expected to open in 2017. The family also keeps all stores closed on Sundays in deference to their religious beliefs.
Rhea Mitchell of Columbia Heights said that Christian values play a small part in her decision to shop Hobby Lobby.
"I like the huge selection, the customer service and the low prices," she said while shopping at the Blaine store on Wednesday. "Look at all the 50 percent off signs."
The $3 billion retailer also is known for paying competitive wages. Part-time employees start at $10.16 per hour, and full-time workers make $15.24 an hour or more.