VALDOSTA -- Hobby lovers' struggle to find products just got a little easier. Hobby Lobby Creative Centers opened their newest facility in Valdosta on Oct. 1.

The store's 47,000 square feet of retail space is packed with supplies for any possible hobby. It carries 60,000 items regularly stocked and another 40,000 specialty items, such as home and seasonal decor.

"Hobby Lobby offers one stop shopping for all your creative needs," said Mike Brewer, store manager. "We offer a greater selection than Valdosta has ever seen before."

It would take hours to see all 100,000 items that Hobby Lobby's show floor boasts. Brewer said that many people actually do take advantage of the store's relaxed atmosphere and spend hours shopping through its many options.

In addition to a multitude of craft and hobby supplies, the store offers a full line of fabrics, custom floral designs for weddings and events, custom framing, artist supplies, framing as you wait, seasonal decor, party supplies, a complete cake decorating center and a full line of home accents.

He believes that the selection, service and prices set Hobby Lobby apart from other retail stores.

"You can get two of those anywhere, but you'll get all three here," he said. "Our regular prices are competitive, and our weekly sale prices are phenomenal."

Friendly, helpful service comes from the trained staff of 45 people who have chosen to be employed by this company that is operated in a manner consistent with biblical principles.

Brewer chose to begin his career because he is a man of faith, and Hobby Lobby is a faith-based company. He suggests that anyone interested in a career in management should consider a career at his store because they will be well taken care of.

While the hobby store mostly appeals to women, men have been know to shop there, too. Even kids can find multiple aisles filled with fun craft supplies like stickers and T-shirt paint.

In addition to an extensive inventory, Hobby Lobby also offers a classroom for free to anyone who wants to teach. Current classes include Bob Ross Tech oil painting, Wilton Cake decorating, and stained glass classes.

The new hobby supply store will be beneficial to this area in more ways than just serving the needs of hobby lovers. Because many customers used to travel to the Albany store, having this facility will eliminate the need to travel and will keep the economic dollar in Valdosta.

"I'd love for people to come visit the store and come introduce themselves. I've enjoyed getting to know everyone so far, and I'm floored by the Southern hospitality," Brewer said. "I never truly understood it until I actually experienced it."

Customers have told him that they have been waiting on a local Hobby Lobby for a long time. Many others have told him that they are very glad to see the store here in town. Brewer tells them that Hobby Lobby wanted to be a part of Valdosta.

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