The arts and crafts retail giant Hobby Lobby is coming to Tracy and will open in the vacant JC Penney building at West Valley Mall sometime early next year.

Hobby Lobby confirmed their plans in an email Thursday morning saying, “At this time, we can confirm that a lease has been signed for the former JC Penney location and our estimated opening is early in 2022.”

Social media had been abuzz for the past few days with discussion of Hobby Lobby coming to Tracy after reports of job postings for a Tracy store were seen.

On several job recruitment websites Hobby Lobby listed an opening for a senior assistant manager for a Tracy store location at 3100 Naglee Road, the site of the now-closed JC Penney store. The Hobby Lobby website’s career page also shows a senior assistant manager listing posted on Jan. 14 for the Tracy location.

Founded in 1970, Hobby Lobby operates more than 900 stores in 47 states with 43,000 employees.

The store features arts and crafts, hobby supplies, picture framing, jewelry making, fabrics, floral, home décor wedding supplies and holiday merchandise. Hobby Lobby has stores nearby in Lodi, Stockton, Modesto, Turlock, Antioch and Dublin.

JC Penney announced plans to close the West Valley Mall location in June 2020 after 24 years as one of the mall’s anchor stores.

The 51,000-square-foot building opened in 1996 on the west side of the mall as one of the first three anchor stores at the mall.

As of Thursday morning the building at the mall remains closed and there was no sign of any construction work inside to underway to prepare for Hobby Lobby.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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