Vienna Hobby Lobby’s grand opening draws a crowd

Hobby Lobby manager Thomas “T.S.” Racer, second from left, cuts the ribbon for the new Vienna store with the help of his daughters, Cianah and Reagan, as Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp, left, and Hobby Lobby district manager Robert Sommers watch Monday. The crafts and home decor retailer held a grand opening Monday after a “soft” opening Friday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

VIENNA — The wait is over for local fans of Hobby Lobby.

Following a soft opening Friday, the new arts-and-crafts retailer held a ribbon-cutting Monday morning, with well over 100 people entering the store in the renovated Vienna Kmart building on Grand Central Avenue at 9 a.m. and more following soon thereafter.

“It was amazing, honestly,” said store manager Thomas “T.S.” Racer, a longtime Wood County resident. “I’m grateful for how many people came out to support the store and support me.”

While Monday’s grand opening was announced in advance, word of mouth created an impressive turnout Saturday and Sunday as well, Racer said.

“Even our regional manager was astounded at the number of people that came out,” he said.

Jackie Chavez, with Hobby Lobby’s Management Ministries, leads a prayer before the ribbon-cutting Monday at the store in the renovated former Kmart building on Grand Central Avenue in Vienna. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Evans resident Kelli Williams said she and her family had been waiting for weeks to get inside the store.

“It’s just awesome because we drive all the way to Barboursville if we want to do Hobby Lobby,” she said, adding she appreciates the store’s home decor, yarn and paper craft offerings.

Williams’ 10-year-old grandson, Hayden Roush, said he’s looking forward to the crafts he and his brother and sister will be able to make with Monday’s purchases.

“It just gives you something to do,” he said.

Newport resident Nathan Greathouse said he and his wife both enjoy shopping at Hobby Lobby and had been looking forward to the opening.

Hobby Lobby employee Reva Foster, left, cuts fabric for customers at the new Vienna craft and home decor retailer Monday, shortly after the store’s grand opening. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“It has a little bit of everything for everybody,” he said. “I found some superhero stuff for my eventual man cave.”

Vienna resident Rhonda Stone said she’s shopped at other Hobby Lobby locations and is excited to have one a short distance away.

“It seems like it’s going to have what I need, or want,” said Stone, who enjoys painting and floral design.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said Monday’s event was “probably the most anticipated grand opening we’ve ever had” and thanked the company for choosing to locate in the city.

“Anything that we can do (to help), we’re more than happy to do it,” he said.

Evans resident Kelli Williams, back, walks with her grandchildren — from left, Elias, Sophie and Hayden Roush— through the new Hobby Lobby in Vienna, shortly after its grand opening Monday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Robert Sommers, district manager for Hobby Lobby, said data showed residents from Vienna had shopped at the company’s stores in other locations such as Lancaster and Zanesville.

“The need and the desire was here, so we just thought it was a great community to get into,” he said.

More than 550 people applied for jobs at the new store, and about 50 people are working at the store, Sommers said.

The ribbon-cutting was preceded by a prayer offered by Jackie Chavez, with Hobby Lobby Management Ministries.

“That’s just something that’s important for us to honor God and just thank Him for the opportunity to open doors in a new community,” she said.

Dozens of people lined up outside the doors of the new Hobby Lobby on Grand Central Avenue in Vienna before the store opened with a ribbon-cutting Monday morning. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The company emphasizes Biblical principles in its core values, including being closed on Sundays.

Evan Bevins can be contacted at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

More than 150 people explored the new Hobby Lobby in Vienna following a ribbon-cutting Monday morning. (Photo by Evan Bevins)