Craft stores must stay open | Local
Some nationwide craft store chains remain open as Hoosiers prepares for the third week of Governor Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
But the national chain Hobby Lobby announced Friday that its stores were closed as of today.
Critics questioned whether retailers could legitimately be defined as core businesses, with the store classification allowed to remain open. Essential retailers are generally described as including grocery stores and pharmacies.
Hobby Lobby stores in some states, including Ohio and Colorado, have been forced by law enforcement to close, The Associated Press reported.
But proponents of crafts and hobbies say they can easily justify the decision to stay open.
Amanda Spice, who manages Michaels at Jefferson Pointe, said the location qualifies under two provisions of the Indiana exceptions: it is a UPS drop-off point and sells essential items for teachers and home businesses.
But it’s the parents trying to keep the kids busy who are the most frequent customers these days.
âThe biggest thing we’re selling right now is kids activity kits,â Spice said. “You have to keep their little minds moving.”
âWe are an essential business,â she added.
JoAnn Stores, a third national competitor, operates a local store on Coliseum Boulevard and Coldwater Road. This place is open for business.
It may be easier for the retailer to explain why stores continue to increase sales. JoAnn sells fabric and has opened her classrooms for volunteers willing to sew face masks, gowns and other items to give to healthcare providers.
In a press release dated March 20, the Hudson, Ohio-based company said it would “offer sewing machines, hardware, and advice to help customers make” the items safely. . Social distancing rules are applied during the sessions.
âWhat’s amazing about the craft community is that, especially in difficult times, they’re always looking for ways to help,â said Wade Miquelon, President and CEO of JoAnn, in a statement.
JoAnn and Michaels stores encourage customers to order and pay for their items online, then drop by the store for curbside pickup.
Michaels manager Spice estimated that her store makes two or three curbside sales for every in-store transaction.
âWe stayed pretty busy. We’re stable, âshe said, adding that staff hand orders to cars when customers stop.
Employees wipe carts, baskets and checkout surfaces, including notepads between customers in-store, Spice added.
From volunteers needing fabric to sew masks to parents buying tools to teach their children how to decorate cakes, customers continue to turn to craft and hobby stores.
âIt’s a scary time for many, but we have a generous community that can make a big difference as our healthcare system grapples with this crisis,â said JoAnn’s Miquelon. âWe’re here to support them and everyone who gives year-round. We are all in there.”