The Hobby Lobby store, part of The Shoppes at Fox River opened last week and held its grand-opening ceremony on Monday.
The 55,000-square-foot retail store, 1160 W. Sunset Drive, Suite 104, is the first of its kind in the Milwaukee metro area and 14th location in Wisconsin.
Hobby Lobby, headquartered in Oklahoma City, is a privately held national retail chain of craft and home-decor stores.
"We feel blessed for the fantastic opportunity to be a part of this community," said John Schumacher, assistant vice president of advertising at Hobby Lobby. "Our goal is for customers to experience the exceptional selection and value Hobby Lobby offers as we continue to expand nationwide."
The Hobby Lobby is the latest expansion in The Shoppes at Fox River in recent years. Phase I of the project included a 60,000-square-foot Pick 'n Save and 132,000-square-foot Target and other smaller stores in 2010.
The second phase of the retail center was sold from Opus Development Corp. to Ramco Gershenson Properties Trust in 2012. Ramco Gershenson specializes in open-air shopping centers.
"We bought the shopping center with the intent of expanding,"said Michael Sullivan, senior vice president of asset management.
This expansion continued with Phase II of the development. This included opening TJ Maxx, Ulta Salon and Cosmetics, Rue 21 and Charming Charlie's in late 2012.
That phase of development included more than 47,000 square feet of retail space on six of the 18 acres of developed land adjacent to the existing Phase I buildings.
Sullivan said with the opening of Hobby Lobby, Phase II is now complete.
"The Hobby Lobby rounds out the shopping experience," Sullivan said. "The store looks great, and hopefully we can finish out this shopping center soon. It's a very exciting time."
Sullivan said there is available land for more tenants just south of TJ Maxx and Hobby Lobby.
"We won't submit anything until we have tenant commitments," Sullivan said.
But he said Ramco is working "diligently to secure retail commitments."
"We love working with the city," Sullivan said. "We've been pleased with how we've been able to manage that expansion. But we're taking it one step at a time. We want it to be community based and have the community be happy."
When asked what potential tenants could be at this site, Sullivan said "the variations are endless" and could include "fast-casual-dining" or clothing stores.
"We want to create a certain retail density that brings the community shopper in the morning, afternoon and night," Sullivan said. "That's the goal of providing a tenant mix that allows for the local shopper to come any time."
Sullivan said he couldn't get into specifics about whom his company is negotiating with but added they include a number of national retailers.
"We are actively working on negotiations," said Sullivan, adding he hoped to have tenants brought to the city within 90 and 120 days. "We want to make sure all our I's are dotted and T's are crossed. We want to have the best commitment before bringing it to the city."