Mega craft store Hobby Lobby is coming to Santa Maria.
Community development director Chuen Ng told The Tribune in an email Monday that the company submitted tenant improvement plans to the city in April, for the old Toys R Us building at 1411 S. Bradley Road.
Toys R Us closed in the city in spring 2018, as the struggling company finally went out of business. Since then, Hobby Lobby has expressed an interest in opening new stores in former Toys R Us buildings, according to a July 2018 Wall Street Journal Report.
Those plans seem to be coming to fruition.
Beside the Santa Maria store, the chain has also announced plans to open in Citrus Heights in an old Toys R Us building in the fall, and fill two open locations in Atlanta this year.
Ng said the Santa Maria plans are currently under review, and he expects them to be completed within a few months.
An expected opening date for the new business is not yet known.
Hobby Lobby media representatives did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Tribune.
According to its website, Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby has more than 850 stores, and is the “largest privately owned arts-and-crafts retailer in the world, with over 37,500 employees and operating in 46 states.”
The nearest locations are in Oxnard and Bakersfield.
The chain is known for its role in a Supreme Court decision in 2014, in which the court ruled that “closely held” stock corporations like Hobby Lobby did not have to cover emergency contraceptives for employees through their health insurance, because of religious preferences.