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North Lake Square taking shape ahead of Hobby Lobby opening
Store opens Friday; Academy, Chipotle coming in November
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Bookkeeper Donna McManus and seasonal employees Delberta Lee and Mel Mauldin stock shelves at Hobby Lobby on Wednesday. Hobby Lobby is set to open on Friday, with its grand opening scheduled for Monday. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Hobby Lobby’s opening at 9 a.m. Friday in Gainesville marks the first of many at North Lake Square shopping center, which is beginning to take shape.

The craft and home decor store, Hobby Lobby’s 35th location in Georgia, is a 55,000-square-foot building at 1146 Dawsonville Highway NW near Ahaluna Drive. The store will be open Friday and Saturday before a grand opening and a ribbon-cutting scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday.

The 200,000-square-foot North Lake Square also has an Academy Sports + Outdoors opening on Nov.13 and a Chipotle slated for mid-November, as well.

Site plans state the $4 billion sports retailers Academy Sports + Outdoors will occupy a 62,000-square-foot space. The plans also call for Chipotle to occupy a 2,450-square-foot building. Three additional shops will adjoin the restaurant.

“Things are moving along great,” said Tim Knight, developer for North Lake and president of Knight Commercial Real Estate.

Knight said there are also “several other anchors that we have deals with and we hope to make some announcements in the next 30-60 days on those.”

John Schumacher, assistant vice president of advertising with Hobby Lobby, said the company “feels blessed for the fantastic opportunity to be a part of this community. Our goal is for customers to experience the exceptional service, selection and value Hobby Lobby offers as we continue to expand nationwide,” Schumacher said.

Laurie Jones is the store manager at the new location.

Hobby Lobby announced that the store is expected to bring 35-50 jobs to the area, paying $15.24 per hour for full-time employees and $10.16 per hour for part-time associates.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Hobby Lobby is closed on Sunday.

Knight said in past interviews with The Times that he chose the site in Gainesville for North Lake Square because “you’ve got stable employment here, and it’s a growing area of Hall County. It’s a good, healthy market.”