Hobby Lobby is closing its Rutland store, though the company would not immediately admit to it this week.
When contacted Thursday, store staff referred media inquiries to a corporate communications office in Oklahoma City, where a representative said that records did not show any plans to close the store.
However, Mayor David Allaire posted to his Facebook page Friday morning that he and Rutland Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Brennan Duffy had spoken with the store manager and confirmed that it would close. A follow-up call to the corporate headquarters was eventually responded to with a brief email saying the Rutland store “will be exiting the market in March.”
A follow-up email, asking if this was part of a larger wave of closings, what provisions were being made for the staff and what plans the company had for the property, had not received a reply by the close of business Friday.
Duffy said Friday afternoon that City Hall was trying unsuccessfully to get more information from the chain’s corporate offices.
“Unfortunately, we do not have a whole lot of verified information to pass on,” he said.
Allaire’s post said the manager indicated the building had been sold. Duffy said the city had not received a property transfer and he was not prepared to speculate on what might go into the spot.
“It’s still too early,” he said. “We’re still waiting to understand the situation there.”
The property previously housed a Hannaford, which moved out in 2008 in favor of the supermarket’s current location on the south end of town — a space originally built for a Stop & Shop that never came to town. Hobby Lobby bought the 47,000-square-foot building for $3 million in late 2013, opening for business with 50 part-time staff members in March 2014.