Hobby Lobby and Michaels are very similar – they both sell arts and crafts supplies, seasonal decorations, paint and canvases, and stuff for scrapbooking and knitting.
You can participate in various adults and kids classes and get plenty of DIY project ideas at both stores. Come Christmas, Easter, or Halloween, and you will find tons of decorations.
Both stores are seemingly doing very well and going for our business toe to toe. Hobby Lobby is owned privately, currently has 800 stores in 47 states, and planning to open 60 more stores this year. 63 of those 800 locations were opened in 2017.
Michaels is a public company with over 1,200 locations in 49 states. The sales have been growing steadily as of lately. 9 new locations have been opened recently, 1 closed, and 7 stores relocated.
While the description and financial reports sound similar, the stores are not alike at all. I visited both and one really stood out as a clear winner. This is my opinion and experience, yours might be completely different.
I visited two stores in Johns Creek, an Atlanta suburb, and make some observations and conclusions. Here is my honest review of both:
This store is close to my favorite grocery store, Publix, so it was very convenient to start there. While window displays have been ready for Christmas since August, this is still September, so inside everything was fall themed.
At least at the front of the store I saw plenty of orange decorations and great deals. Further back Halloween stuff was slowly coming in, but the section was still kind of empty. I guess the management felt that there is still plenty of time for that.
All through the store I noticed lots of empty spaces and sparsely stocked shelves.
One section that wasn’t empty was the one allocated for Christmas. The shelves were full to the brim – ornaments, Christmas trees, garlands, home décor, and everything under the sun. Everything was on sale too, making it hard to figure out if it was left over from the last Christmas or just extremely early preparation for this year’s.
Knowing Hobby Lobby, it’s most likely for this year. It definitely looks like the store is making all its money from Christmas and doesn’t care much about anything else.
I found all kinds of craft supplies on semi-empty shelves. There was stuff for scrapbooking, jewelry making, and art supplies for school projects. Hobby Lobby had a great selection of paint; most brands were under $5. There was also no shortage of canvases, anywhere between $1.99 and $69.99. Drawing tables and easels were right next door and all at 50% off. Sales signs were all over the store, so many things were definitely on discounted.
One large section was dedicated to various fabrics. Four isles were allocated to fake flowers, foliage, and plants. There were also fake fruits, baskets, faux marble columns, and plenty of supplies for wreaths and floral compositions.
Many places in the store featured ads about Hobby Lobby social media campaigns and email list joining, which will give you plenty of sales, deals, and coupons. Downloading the app rewards you with 40% off coupon, so you are invited to do that. The app is convenient for online shopping and a good place for receiving and collecting your coupons.
- 40% OFF One Highest Priced Item
- 80% OFF Clearance
- 50% OFF Wall Decor
We loved many open registers, no lines, 90 days for returns, and price match option, even if it’s only available under some conditions.
The store was just 10 minutes from Hobby Lobby. The front of the store met me with all kinds of fall decorations. No mentioning of Christmas yet, which I found refreshing.
Hobby Lobby might have had more sales, but Michael’s carried more and better brands, making it easier to pick what I really liked. This proves that goodness is not always in the bottom dollar, quality is important too.
The supplies were very similar to what I found at Hobby Lobby, but with less empty shelves and vacant spaces. The stock was definitely much better organized, included more brands, and price points.
I wasn’t in the market for stuff like that, but found high-tech items, such as instant cameras and printers. I saw some empty shelves here too, but decided they were probably getting ready for a new display, maybe Christmas. Most isles were fully stocked though.
Canvas section was great with choices, but more expensive than Hobby Lobby. I didn’t see anything below $10. I loved the amount of brands available, even if it was more expensive. It was the same story with paint and art supplies – more expensive, but better and more brands.
I found a huge clearance section, where everything was 70% off, but items there were so random and so out of order that it didn’t look very inviting.
The store also had isles of fake plants, but probably less than 4 and filled with more beautiful fake flowers. All fall décor was BOGO free.
Just like Hobby Lobby, Michaels has email lists with weekly ads, special sales, and promo codes. They also send out project ideas and offers online orders’ in-store pick up.
- 50% OFF Regular Priced Item
- Free Shipping on $49
- 70% OFF Doorbuster
The line at the register was long, but there were plenty of little items, such as candy and plastic cups, so the wait wasn’t very boring. Michaels has 60 day return policy and not only matches, but beats competitor prices by 10%.
All in all, I loved Michaels a lot more! It was cheery, well stocked, and busy. Yes, the store was just a bit more expensive, but I choose quality and variety of choices versus the lowest price. Michaels also offers price match, which can really help save.