Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's Review: Battle of the Craft Stores

I'm not a hard-core crafter but I do enjoy the occasional project, especially DIY projects that save me money. Here in Visalia, the main crafting stores are Michael's and JoAnn's and my usual project list requires that I hit up both places in order to get my supplies. Until today...

(Insert sound clip of large choir singing the "Hallelujah Chorus")

As of January 2011, our town can now boast a Hobby Lobby craft store. I have been eying the store front for a month or so, waiting to see signs of life and plotting my first scouting mission. I am pleased to report that today we have mission accomplished.

Ok, so onto the "review" part.

My goal for the initial walk-through was to see how Hobby Lobby compared to its local competitors, Michael's and JoAnn's. Here is what I came up with:

Hobby Lobby v. Michael's

Hobby Lobby is simply a much larger store. It has two to three times more product than our local Michael's store and carries a larger variety of brands and options within the brands. Though I didn't do a massive amount of research as far as price comparisons go, the crafting items I purchased (scrap-booking paper, felt, a few home decor items), were on sale and definitely less expensive than the same products would have been at Michael's. I appreciated the huge selection as well. I didn't feel like I needed to go check out any other stores for more variety before making a purchase.

Where Michael's scores a few points is in their coupon campaigns. I can always find a coupon for Michael's either in the paper or at the end of an old receipt. When I find an item on sale and have a coupon to add to the discount, I usually walk out of the store feeling pretty thrifty. The other "plus" Michael's has going for it is their Martha Stewart product line. I'm a fan of her crafting tools and kits and they are only available at Michael's.

Hobby Lobby v. JoAnn's

Hobby Lobby does carry both home and fashion fabrics. I was a bit surprised at how small their selection was but was impressed by the quality and "cuteness" of what was in stock and the competitive prices of the yardage. Like I mentioned in the Michael's comparison, Hobby Lobby has a lot more product than JoAnn's, making it a nice "one-stop" shop.

Another interesting aspect to the Hobby Lobby store is the clear Christian influence. There are products with Scripture and religious phrases all over. They even carry fabric with Christian symbols and phrases printed on them. The music being played was instrumental praise music and they sell various types of worship CD's at each checkout counter

I am still a big JoAnn's fan for specific things like fabric and sewing supplies, especially when I can find what I need on sale. I have picked up some great remnant pieces as well as beautiful outdoor fabric on the super cheap which I watched for sale ads and stayed up on the seasonal deals. This works great for projects that can be planned and finished over time. It's not so great, however, for that Saturday project you saw on a blog and wanted to finish by that evening. If its not on sale and you don't have a coupon, JoAnn's can get pricey. Other than having a larger fabric selection, JoAnn's usually does a good job of having one or two isles of clearance items. Sometimes the prices are still more than I would spend but every once and a while I find a jewel of an item for next to nothing which always makes my day.

In My Humble Opinion

Overall, Hobby Lobby takes the cake. I'm sure there are items that are more expensive than at the competitor stores but from what I saw today, prices were very comparable. Hobby Lobby also boasts a large selection of gardening supplies (not like rakes and shovels but cute decor and kid supplies) as well as some great small furniture pieces and lamps. They also have multiple isles of great decor items like mirrors, clocks, frames, metal signs, and other wall fixtures. A lot of the products looked like something you would find at a TJ Maxx or Home Goods and though the furniture was priced a bit higher than I would want to pay, almost every other decor item was on sale and at least 50% off making it super affordable.

I'm a fan. I spent over an hour perusing the store today (Sawyer was with his grandparents and I took full advantage) and could have been in there for much longer would my budget have allowed it. Definitely a new favorite shopping spot!



  1. Nice! I like the way the review "feels." Good job, Amber. You have me wishing for a Hobby Lobby in Davis!

  2. The good thing about Michaels and Joann's is that they both take theirs and each other's coupons. Neither of them will let you take a coupon combined with a sale...and that's a bummer! The biggest negative about Hobby Lobby is that there is not one in Fresno! That being said, I envy you, and can't wait to make the trip...me and the gals to your H.L.
    Thanks for the review!

  3. Aw man, you have a hobby lobby!!! I've only dreamed of walking into one. They are quite the popular supply place for DIY crafters. I believe that you might be able to find coupons online for them :)

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