Central Bakersfield

Hobby Lobby bustling in first few days

Hobby Lobby bustling in first few days »Play Video
Shoppers are seen at a Hobby Lobby store on California Avenue in Bakersfield, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Is it a sign of the economy on the upswing? The Hobby Lobby is now open in southwest Bakersfield.

Doretha Jones and Toni Shapazian had full shopping carts when Eyewitness News caught up with them at the grand opening of store on California Avenue.

“It is several types of stores, but on steroids,” joked Doretha Jones.

The former Mervyn's building has been vacant for nearly five years. Hobby Lobby is the new tenant now, and shoppers couldn't seem to get enough at the new store.

“It is almost overwhelming, but it is wonderful. I can say that we will probably be here for a couple of hours, just to kind of see everything that is here,” said Jones.

Hobby Lobby carries Everything from craft supplies, fabrics, baskets, silk flowers, needlework, picture frames, party supplies, and even furniture.

"It seems like everybody in Bakersfield came in and shopped with us,” said Tim Anderson, who manages the new store. He hopes his packed aisles will bring new life to the rest of the center, as well.

"Hopefully we are driving a lot more business to the surrounding stores and to the shopping center,” said Anderson. And he is right - it isn't only shoppers who are excited about the new store.
Juan Valenzuela manages the Coconut Joe’s across the way. He said the store's opening has already brought foot traffic through his restaurant.

“We are loving it. It is bringing in a lot of new customers for us, and we want more!” said Valenzuela.

Last year, there was speculation that the building would be torn down to make way for a major retailer, but the building remains.