DUBLIN -- One of the nation's largest chains of craft and home décor stores will open in Dublin this spring, giving area artists, crafters and do-it-yourselfers yet another shopping option.

Hobby Lobby will open at the newly renovated 60,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by Expo Design Center, near Target in the Dublin Place Shopping Center. The privately-held chain based in Oklahoma City operates about 550 stores nationwide.

The huge space will be filled with an estimated 70,000 products in categories that include crafting, hobbies, art supplies, fabric and needlework, beads and jewelry-making, scrapbooking, home décor, custom framing, floral and wedding.

Hobby Lobby will compete with other area arts-and-crafts retailers, including Michael's and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store, each less than a mile from the new store. Hobby Lobby's large inventory and range make it competitive with similar stores, according to spokesman Vince Parker.

"Once you visit you will see that we are very unique and no one in the craft and home décor market is like us," he said via email. "We offer the widest variety of crafting supplies you will find in one location with new merchandise arriving all the time."

The Dublin store is the company's 21st California location, joining outlets in Antioch, Stockton, Modesto and Morgan Hill. About 35-50 employees will be hired for the new location.

Company owner David Green started the business, originally named Greco, in 1970 in his garage, where he produced miniature picture frames. By 1972, the company name was changed to Hobby Lobby, with operations moving to a 300-square-foot retail space. Today, most Hobby Lobby stores average about 55,000 square feet, and the business still adheres to the Green family's core values.

"The foundation of our business has been and will continue to be strong values based on biblical principles, including integrity, service to others and giving back to those in need," Parker said.

Hobby Lobby is expected to open in late April, and will operate Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The store is closed on Sunday. For more details on Hobby Lobby, log on to www.hobbylobby.com.

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