Arts and crafts supplies retailer A.C. Moore is closing all of its stores, including five in the Richmond region.

The New Jersey-based retailer will shutter its 145 locations from Maine to Florida, most of them located along the East Coast. The chain has 15 stores in Virginia.

Its parent company, Nicole Crafts, said Monday that it decided to exit its retail operations.

“For over 30 years, our stores have been servicing the creative community with a vast selection of art and craft materials, with one common focus, the customer,” Anthony Piperno, CEO of A.C. Moore, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, given the headwinds facing many retailers in today’s environment, it made it very difficult for us to operate and compete on a national level.”

Plans for closing specific A.C. Moore locations will be disclosed in the upcoming weeks on the chain’s website, the company said. The chain said it will stop accepting further online orders, but said it will ship any previously placed orders.

Michaels, the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailer with more than 1,260 stores in 49 states and Canada, will assume the leases of up to 40 stores, a lease on an East Coast distribution facility and purchase A.C. Moore’s intellectual property, according to the release. The company didn’t say which stores Michaels will take over.

Michaels has six stores in the Richmond region.

Several customers who had shopped at the A.C. Moore store at Willow Lawn were shocked to learn on Tuesday morning that the store was closing.

“I’m disappointed,” said Gabriella Coy of Henrico County. “It’s sad because I like knowing it is here when I need to do something crafty.”

The retailer first opened in Moorestown, N.J., in 1985. It entered the Richmond market in 2012 when the chain acquired the local Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames stores. The local chain had operated for decades, with the first local store opening in the Beverly Hills Shopping Center on Patterson Avenue in Henrico in 1956.

Michelle Martin, also of Henrico, remembers shopping at Ben Franklin on Patterson Avenue, saying Tuesday that she wished it was still operating. “That mom and pop feel was gone” when A.C. Moore took over the local stores, she said.

But at least having A.C. Moore gave consumers choices, she said. “When they are gone, we won’t have choices. That’s sad.”

A.C. Moore has stores in Willow Lawn, the Beverly Hills Shopping Center, West Broad Marketplace, the Stein Mart Festival center off Midlothian Turnpike and at 7026 Mechanicsville Turnpike in Hanover County. It opened its store in the West Broad Marketplace in May 2018 and relocated the store in Willow Lawn to a new spot in the same center in October 2017.

A.C. Moore has 10 other stores in Virginia — one each in Charlottesville, Newport News, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, Falls Church, Ashburn and two in Virginia Beach.

The company said it has retained the retail and real estate divisions of Gordon Brothers to close the chain’s stores.

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