Hobby Lobby opens in Lynchburg, grand opening draws thousands

Hobby Lobby saw 42,000 people during its soft opening last week

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Doris Fisher will no longer have to drive two and half hours to North Carolina to shop at Hobby Lobby. That’s because the popular arts and crafts store is now open in Lynchburg.

“I got myself a little dragon that I needed to put up. I had one fall and break. So I had to replace it,” Fisher said. "I’m hearing people saying, ‘Look at this, look at this,’ ‘I need this, I need that.’ It’s great that we have it."

Monday’s grand opening drew a big crowd and filled the parking lot.

Hobby Lobby did a soft opening last week, expecting about 12,000 people, but instead had 42,000 come through its doors.

“We had a very good sales week. It was definitely more than what we thought we were going to do." When asked how much, Eddie Chapman Jr., the store manager said, “ $315,000 in one week, that's pretty good for just opening the doors.” 

A year ago, K-Mart shut down, but city leaders found a new purpose for the building and brought back about 60 jobs to the area.

“Oftentimes when people are looking to move to Lynchburg, whether it’s their family or for a business, they’re looking at what is the retail environment like and Hobby Lobby adds to that retail environment and helps the community and the region grow,” Lynchburg Business Alliance CEO Megan Lucas said.

Lynchburg business leaders say their partnership with local schools and families helped lure the popular store to the Hill City. But Fisher begs to differ. She believes her letter was the reason.

“I emailed Hobby Lobby about a year and a half ago about some property that was going to be available in and around the area. And I’m glad to see that they took my advice,” Fisher said.