Hobby Lobby, the craft store that has been at the center of numerous controversies, is growing across America. Here's what it's like to shop there.

Business Insider/Jessica TylerHobby Lobby sells all sorts of arts-and-crafts supplies as well as tons of home decor.

  • Hobby Lobby, the privately owned arts-and-crafts store chain, currently operates 800 stores across 47 states. It plans to open 60 more stores and hire 2,500 new employees in 2018.
  • Hobby Lobby has been at the center of a number of controversies over the years.
  • We recently visited a Hobby Lobby in Commack, New York. Here’s what it’s like to shop there.

Even though many stores are closing their doors right now, Hobby Lobby continues to grow.

The privately owned arts-and-crafts giant currently operates about 800 stores across 47 states. In 2017, it opened 63 new stores, which included 12 stores that had been relocated. In early 2018, Hobby Lobby announced it would be continuing to grow, opening an additional 60 stores and hiring around 2,500 new employees in 2018.

The retailer has been at the center of quite a few controversies over the years. It challenged an Obamacare mandate on the grounds that the requirement to cover contraceptives like Plan B and Ella violated the company’s owners’ religious liberties, since they equate use of the drugs to abortion. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the crafts chain.

In 2017, Hobby Lobby agreed to pay $US3 million and forfeit ancient artifacts that were smuggled into the United States. Just a few months later, Hobby Lobby’s president, Steve Green, was a driving force behind the opening of The Museum of The Bible, which faced criticism for its decision to display the Confederate flag and pro-slavery texts in an attempt to understand the Bible’s role in the Civil War.

But it’s also been in the news for more lighthearted reasons. Earlier this year, Hobby Lobby stores were featured in a viral photo challenge in which teens used craft-store merchandise and displays to take artistic photos and post them on Twitter and Instagram.

We visited a Hobby Lobby in Commack, New York, to see what the craft store was like. Here’s what it’s like to shop there:


I went to the Hobby Lobby store in Commack, New York.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The inside was fully decorated for fall, even though it was still August. There were deals on all sorts of fall decor …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and Halloween decor was being stocked, though there were a lot of empty shelves still.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The empty shelves were pretty common throughout the store.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

One thing that took me by surprise was seeing Christmas decor in August.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

It was hard to tell whether it was left over from last Christmas or whether it was being put up for this year. Almost everything was on sale …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and there were quite a few empty shelves.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Hobby Lobby also carried traditional craft supplies like stickers and scrapbooking material …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… poster board ….

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and jewellery-making supplies.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were also a ton of different paint brands and colours, most of which were under $US5.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were canvases in all different shapes, sizes, and materials.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The canvases ranged in price from $US1.99 for a tiny canvas to $US69.99 for the biggest canvases.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were also easels and drawing desks, all of which were 50% off. Sale signs were everywhere throughout the store.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Much of what the store had was pretty random, like an entire aisle of antique-looking suitcases and mismatched home decor.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were other crafting materials as well, like rows and rows of fabric, most of which was on sale.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Hobby Lobby had no shortage of fake foliage, flowers, and plants. There were also faux marble columns, fake fruits, and other small home decor products.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were four entire aisles of fake flowers and plants.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were almost no hobbies the store didn’t cater to. It had materials for sewing, scrapbooking, fine art, interior decorating, and more.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Sale signs sat atop almost every display, often advertising as much as 50% off.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were blue signs everywhere, with information about the store’s social media profiles …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… as well as instructions on how to join the email list, which offers a weekly ad, special promotions, coupons, and project ideas.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

It also offers an app, which includes a 40% off coupon just for downloading it. The app allows for online shopping and offers many of the same services customers can get by being on the email list.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were a lot of open registers and almost no lines. Hobby Lobby accepts returns on products within 90 days of purchase as long as you have the receipt.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

While the store did have a few messy spots and empty shelves, it had just about everything you might need for a creative project. Plus, there were deals to be had in almost every department of Hobby Lobby.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

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