Hobby Lobby is projecting its McAlester store will be open in about two months.
It's among stores set to open in the Shops at McAlester retail center, currently under construction near the intersection of Fourteenth Street and U.S. Highway 69, also known as the George Nigh Expressway as it wends through McAlester.
Hobby Lobby is projecting its 55,000 square-foot McAlester store will open in early April. It will bring about 35-to-50 jobs to the community, paying $18.50 per hour for full-time employees and $13 per hour for part-time employees, according to a company spokesman.
"Once you visit Hobby Lobby you will see that we are very unique, offering the widest variety of merchandise in the craft and home decor market under one roof," said Assistant Vice President of Advertising Kelly Black.
"We're tremendously excited about becoming a part of the McAlester community," Black said.
McAlester Economic Development Director Kirk Ridenour expressed enthusiasm at Hobby Lobby's projection it will open its store at the Shops at McAlester site in April.
"Hobby Lobby joining the community represents McAlester reaching the next tier of retail, so we're excited about how this will open new retail possibilities," Ridenour said.
City Manager Pete Stasiak also welcomed Hobby Lobby.
"We're excited to have them here," Stasiak said. "This is wonderful for our community."
Construction is underway on the building that will house the McAlester Hobby Lobby store. Other stores at Shops At McAlester that developer Burk Collins said he is on schedule to turn over by mid-February include TJ Maxx, Ross and Burkes Outlet.
"I think you're going to see a lot of them opening," Stasiak said, referring to the next few months. "This is what our community has asked for and Burk Collins is bringing it."
Stasiak noted the hard work that Ridenour has put into the shopping center project.
"There are so many wonderful things happening," Stasiak said. "This will change the face of our community."
Mayor John Browne said "We're looking forward to Hobby Lobby's grand opening.
"Hobby Lobby has good-paying jobs," Browne said. "We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship."
Hobby Lobby currently has 26 stores around the state, with more than 900 stores across the U.S.
"Each store has more than 70,000 crafting and home decor products including floral, fabric, needle art, custom framing, baskets, home accents, wearable art, arts and crafts, jewelry making, scrapbooking and paper crafting supplies," a Hobby Lobby spokesman said in announcing its plans.
Collins, of Burks Collins and Co., previously said other stores that have committed to locate in the Shops at McAlester Center include Rack Room Shoes, Old Navy, Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Five Below and others. Restaurants Collins has said plan to locate in the center include Chick-fil-A and Burger King, as well as Starbucks. A brach of a local bank and a Jiffy Lube also plan to locate at the site, he said.
While Collins has said he is on-schedule to deliver the main stores by mid-February, the stores will still have to be stocked and employees hired or brought in from other locations.
The shopping center came under construction after Collins agreed to construct it at his own expense in exchange for collecting the city of McAlester's and Pittsburg County's sales tax collections for five years or until he collects $5.5 million, whichever comes first.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.