Arts and crafts retailer expecting to create 35 to 50 new jobs
By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
TILTON — A protective fence now blocks the entrance of the former Shaw's Supermarket, and the warning signal of a backing forklift periodically sounds as work begins on the future site of a Hobby Lobby arts and crafts store.
The national retail chain already has stores in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Seabrook, and it is advertising for a co-manager in Tilton who isn't afraid of a "roll-up-your-sleeves" management approach.
Bob Miller, communications coordinator for Hobby Lobby, said the company is looking forward to opening in Tilton. No date has been set, but the 55,000-square-foot store expects to bring 35-50 new jobs to the community.
"We are always looking for new locations to better serve our customers," Miller said. "The success of our stores in New Hampshire led us to look at Tilton. We think this is a great location and we are eager to get the doors open and become a part of the community."
Hobby Lobby currently has more than 750 stores across the nation, adding 56 new stores last year (including eight relocated stores), and plans call for opening in 60 locations this year, which would mean jobs for 1,700 to 2,500 new employees, according to Miller.
Each store, Miller said, offers more than 70,000 crafting and home decor products, including floral, fabric, needle art, custom framing, baskets, home accents, wearable art, wedding supplies, arts and crafts, jewelry-making, scrapbooking and paper crafting supplies.
Store hours will be Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hobby Lobby stores are closed on Sunday.
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., an Oklahoma City-based corporation, began in 1970 as Greco, a miniature picture frame company, in David Green's garage. When Green moved his business to a 300-square-foot retail space in 1972, he renamed it Hobby Lobby and now it advertises as the nation's largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer.
For the ninth consecutive year, Hobby Lobby has raised the minimum wage for its employees, paying $15.70 per hour to full-time employees as of April 15. Part-time employees earn $10.45 per hour.
"Our company would not be successful without the great work employees do each day in our stores," Green said in a press release announcing this year's increase. "We know that if we reward our employees for their hard work we will be rewarded in turn with their loyalty and dedication to their job and our customers."
Green credits the success of the company to his parents, who emphasized faith, a strong family, and generous living. "Green shares principles that have guided him in growing a business from scratch, weathering a Supreme Court case, raising a loving family, and leaving them a lasting legacy," the release states.
The U.S. Supreme Court case arose from Hobby Lobby's challenge of the provision in the Affordable Care Act that required employers to provide contraception, and the company ultimately prevailed on religious grounds. The case recognized closely held corporations as persons, which brought Hobby Lobby and similar operations protection under the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
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