Oklahoma City-based crafts retailer Hobby Lobby announced it will open 70 new stores this year, bringing the total to 626 nationwide.
The new stores will include outlets in Oregon and Vermont, which are new territories for the retailer.
Rumors have abounded that Hobby Lobby will be closing stores, which it attributes to wording in its lawsuit over employer provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
Hobby Lobby lately has garnered a lot of ink regarding its lawsuit refusing to comply with the Affordable Care Act on religious grounds, especially after the Supreme Court agreed to take the case. By staking out this ground, the company’s owners have generated controversy that is rarely welcome in the retail world, and the Internet has blown up over it on both sides. Rumors of the company’s demise, or at least that it would be closing stores, have also been fueled by the Web, and this expansion announcement should at least put that to rest. But it is the Internet, after all, and it remains to be seen whether the crafts chain will ultimately benefit, lose, or draw from the notoriety.