Hobby Lobby opens to eager patrons after roof collapse
by Matt Shinall
Oct 10, 2010 | 2453 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville’s Hobby Lobby recently went through a nearly 12-week renovation. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Cartersville’s Hobby Lobby recently went through a nearly 12-week renovation. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Heavy rains saturated Cartersville on July 18 prompting the partial roof collapse of Cartersville's Hobby Lobby. After an extensive rebuild to the rear of the building complex, the hobby and craft store opened Monday with crowds of patrons streaming in all week.

A portion of the rear wall and roof failed under the weight of rain water then severing a riser pipe connected to the building's sprinkler system, which led to flooding throughout much of the store.

Cleanup crews went to work immediately, removing first customer property from the frame shop before water damage occurred then the task of removing product from the 48,000-square-foot facility began.

The store had just received a face-lift when disaster struck and more upgrades were added as they rebuilt what has been the company's Cartersville home for 10 years, making it the oldest Hobby Lobby in the state, according to store manager Steve Lehman.

Lehman, new to the Cartersville store, was coincidentally due to report at his new location the day after the roof collapse. Welcomed by eager customers, Lehman described the reception Hobby Lobby received after their temporary closure.

"[It was] fantastic, more than we could have hoped for. We knew that if we had half as many that called missing us and wishing us well and their blessings, if half of those folks showed up this week we would have been doing just fine and we are doing sensational this week. So, turnout has been exceptional," Lehman said.

The nearly 12-week renovation process was longer than expected due to construction difficulties but time was of the essence as the busy holiday season approached. Founded with Christian values, Hobby Lobby puts a priority on the Christmas season.

"It was certainly a push for us to get open in time for our Christmas season. We're a faith-based organization with Christian values and so Christmas is our Super Bowl, much like other retailers," Lehman said.

Regular customers were ready to get back into the store for their hobby and craft supply needs. Cassville resident Lillian Beavers comically expressed her shopping habits.

"Hobby Lobby is my favorite store. I almost went into depression while they were closed," Beavers said with a laugh. "I like to decorate and I'm in here all the time. I'm glad they're open again and I'm glad they chose to stay in Cartersville."

Much of Hobby Lobby's clientele is made up of loyal patrons that frequent the store for their shopping needs. Lehman explained further how their stores carve out a niche with a highly dedicated customer base.

"We do have our regulars and they are very passionate about what we do here," Lehman said. "So, it was a huge burden on many people who rely on us for countless numbers of hobbying and even some of them that do their livelihood based on goods they purchase here and produce.

"This company was founded with tremendous values and I think that sort of attracts a certain kind and quality of customer."

Customers sharing their shopping experience relayed support and gratitude for Hobby Lobby's corporate policies that reflect their Christian values. The most obvious for customers is the company's choice to close stores on Sunday, the reason why no one was in the store during the July roof collapse.

"I never shop on Sunday anyway and I was just pleased to see that they have the same kind of attitude about the Sabbath day," said Phyllis Boyce, Cartersville resident.

Beavers, a pastor by trade ministering at Jesus Alive Mission, extended her appreciation for the corporate observance.

"I love that they're closed on Sundays; I love that this is a faith-based organization," Beavers said.