December 18, 2013 9:49:45 AM
William Browning - [email protected]
It looks like Columbus is getting a Hobby Lobby.
Last month, the Oklahoma-based business filed a "memorandum of lease" in the Lowndes County chancery clerk office. The business will rent nearly 59,000 square feet inside of Leigh Mall, according to the memorandum.
While the document does not specify when the Hobby Lobby will open, it states that the lease will last a decade, with an option for up to 15 more years.
Leigh Mall property manager Gail Culpepper declined to comment when contacted Tuesday morning.
The mall on Aberdeen Road is home to 33 stores. The "anchor" businesses are Burkes Outlet and J.C. Penney. A sign hanging along the mall's south end -- in a portion of the old Sears space -- advertises available lease space.
A message left at Hobby Lobby's corporate offices Tuesday was not returned.
Hobby Lobby is a retail chain of arts and crafts stores that offers more than 67,000 items and home decor products. According to its website, the business is "committed to honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles." It is not open on Sundays.
The company is an extension of Greco Products, a miniature picture frames company founded in a garage by David Green in 1972. Today, Hobby Lobby operates 578 stores across the country, with each store averaging 55,000 square feet, according to its website.
The closest one to Columbus is in Northport, Ala. There is also one in Tupelo.
A Hobby Lobby is scheduled to open in Vicksburg in February, according to the company's website.
The one that appears to be coming to Columbus is the second arts and crafts retailer coming to the Highwy 45 corridor.
An as-yet-unnamed similar business is slated to open alongside a Dick's Sporting Goods that is coming to a site beside the old University Mall. That development, according to Joe Max Higgins, CEO of Golden Triangle Development Link, is scheduled to open in late 2014.
William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.