Demolition is underway in the Loyal Plaza to make room for a new arts and crafts retailer.

Williamsport, Pa. – Work is moving along to convert the former Kmart store into a space for Hobby Lobby to occupy by May.

Contractors arrived at the site at 1915 E. Third Street at the Loyal Plaza several months ago and began gutting the building in preparation for the arts, crafts, and décor store to move in. reached out to Hobby Lobby corporate via email to find out if construction is on schedule and if there is a projected opening date. A spokesman for the company said: “There is no new information available at this time.”

Last week, contractors began removing the front façade of the former Kmart store which was a W.T. Grant’s department store up until 1976. The red “K” came down as well. The front porch roofing was stripped a week prior. The main entrance to the store also was taken out. 

Williamsport Kmart store #3390 closed its doors for good on Feb. 16, 2020 after a three-month liquidation sale. The parent company, Transform Holdco had announced in November 2019 that the Williamsport store, along with at least a dozen others. A press release from Transform Holdco noted the company was continuing to pare down operations due to struggles with sales among increased competition and other factors.

The Williamsport store, which had operated in the Loyal Plaza for 43 years, first opened in August 1976. The discount department store was one of the few in the area for years until Walmart opened in Montoursville in the early 1990s. 

Related Reading: Kmart in Williamsport closes its doors after 43 years

The former Kmart is one of the larger parcels in Loyal Plaza, with 111,486 square feet. Hobby Lobby will occupy roughly half the space, according to a map posted by Bennett Williams Commerical. The map shows that the former Kmart garden and auto shop areas will remain vacant. The former Nathan's restaurant also will remain vacant. A wall was recently constructed to separate those areas. 

Related Reading: Hobby Lobby to move into former Williamsport Kmart

Hobby Lobby is one of the largest privately owned arts-and-crafts retailers in the world. The retailer, which has more than 900 stores in the United States, currently has more than 43,000 employees and operates in 47 states. 

A Hobby Lobby store also is slated to move into the former Weis Markets store at the Susquehanna Valley Mall in Selinsgrove. 

Related Reading: Hobby Lobby coming to Selinsgrove area