Hobby Lobby joins list of new retailers in Garden City
By SCOTT AUST
Hobby Lobby, a major arts and crafts supply store, was named Wednesday morning as the latest tenant to announce its intentions to locate at Garden City's Schulman Crossing retail development.
During his State of the City address at the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Mayor Dan Fankhauser announced that Hobby Lobby, at 55,000 square feet, will be the second largest store in the new shopping center.
Four other retailers were identified last month for Schulman Crossing, which will be located north of Menards near the intersection of the bypass and Schulman Avenue. They include Dick's Sporting Goods, Ross Dress for Less, Cato Fashions and Ulta cosmetics.
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Hobby Lobby was founded in a garage in 1970 as an extension of a miniature picture frames company, and officially began operating as Hobby Lobby in 1972 with just 300 square feet of retail space, according to its website. The company has 559 stores across the nation, including one in Dodge City, that average about 55,000 square feet and offer more than 67,000 crafting and home decor products.
Schulman Crossing developers continue to work on signing tenants, and still anticipate starting site work sometime in October, according to the city. Fankhauser's speech focused on the city's recent retail development history, ongoing issues and future city commission goals.
Fankhauser said the city continues to enhance its standing as the regional center, citing the reconstruction of the bypass and Schulman Avenue intersection, the opening of Menards and the upcoming Schulman Crossing retail development, as well as the Stone Development project that includes a hotel, water park and Old Chicago restaurant.
"With this development comes the need for additional housing. We are encouraged by the housing projects currently under way," he said.
According to Fankhauser, seven different developers are working on residential housing projects in varying stages of development from just a concept to actual construction. If all come to fruition, it will mean more than 500 new units in town.
Increased retail development also will benefit sales tax collections, Fankhauser said. When the city collects more sales taxes, it helps hold the property tax mill levy steady, he said.
Regarding transportation, Fankhauser praised the increased boarding numbers at Garden City Regional Airport that more than doubled last year after a new air carrier, American Eagle, began operation with twice daily flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth.
An area of concern for the city is the future of the Southwest Chief Amtrak passenger rail service. Fankhauser said he's hopeful the service will be maintained by working with other communities and national organizations like the National Association of Rail Passengers.
As the city continues to grow, it's important to also take care of existing facilities and infrastructure. Fankhauser said citizen involvement plays an important role in both the annual long-term capital improvement planning process and in the recent downtown master planning process.
"About 80 residents participated in the Downtown Master Plan meetings. The resulting document makes several recommendations for downtown. One of the recommendations you will see in place soon is the re-striping of Main Street to a three-lane configuration between Fulton and Walnut," he said.
Each February, the city commission conducts a goal setting retreat, which takes into account documents like the capital improvement plan. Fankhauser said the goals for the rest of this year and next year include supporting economic development activities, looking at community facility needs and supporting regionalism.
Some of the community facility needs the commission has identified include expansion of sidewalks and trails; the feasibility of a public/private shooting range; support for public art; rehabilitating brick streets downtown; and examining the feasibility of an indoor/covered multi-court facility for year-round sporting events.
"We have already made progress on some of these goals," Fankhauser said. "Others will take time, but we continue to work toward them. With these goals in mind, we hope to continue our growth and maintain our status as the regional center of western Kansas."