EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Betsy Gallagher walked out of A.C. Moore in the English Creek Shopping Center on Tuesday morning with artificial flowers and a rock art kit in a white, plastic shopping bag.

“I’m devastated. I’m really upset,” Gallagher said as she popped open the trunk of her car. “It’s my go-to store.”

Gallagher was one of a handful of shoppers who walked out of the craft store with bags of sale items. Many said that they were distraught over Monday’s announcement that the stores are going out of business, arguing that they have the best prices and friendliest staff.

All the stores across the country will be affected, according to a statement from Anthony Piperno, chief executive officer of the chain. He cited the difficulty of operating and competing at a national level. And, while the plans for closing specific locations are planned to be shared on the company’s website, there were no updates as of Tuesday afternoon.

“Everybody talks about the economy being so good,” said Gallagher, who makes her own wreaths and grave blankets using artificial flowers and greens. “But look around — there are a lot of stores closing.”

Nicole Brothers, which owns the A.C. Moore stores, will lease up to 40 store locations to The Michaels Companies Inc., along with a lease on an East Coast distribution facility. The retailer stopped accepting online orders on Monday.

But the idea of the store becoming a Michaels isn’t sitting well with shoppers, who said they prefer A.C. Moore.

Melanie Venice, of Smithville, said she prefers the store over Michaels and Hobby Lobby, another craft chain. After she saw on the news Monday night the stores were going to close, she made it a point to stop by, she said.

“They have the best selection and nicest wool,” said Venice, who likes to crochet. “I’m sorry to see them go. I just wish they would change their mind.”

Venice said she’ll have to switch to buying her yarn online.

Mother and daughter Trisha and Tia Randolph, of Northfield, said they frequent the store for craft supplies. They scooped up 10 canvases and some candles, both on sale.

“I just feel like I grew up with A.C. Moore, so it’s more of a nostalgic thing,” Tia said.

Trisha added the store is more organized than other chains, and the customer service is top-notch.

“We love coming here,” she said. “Everybody’s nice and helpful.”

Contact: 609-272-7241

MBilinski@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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