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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — There will be plenty of room to roam the aisles at the first Mardel Christian & Education to open in Tennessee at the Johnson City Crossing shopping center.

A building permit shows the company, founded by Mart Green of the family that owns the Hobby Lobby store chain, is putting about $2 million into the former Stein Mart location at 3211 Peoples Street.

Work continues April 27 at the site of what will become Mardel Christian & Education’s first store in Tennessee and 40th overall, at Johnson City Crossing shopping center in Johnson City, Tenn. (WJHL photo)

The renovation will result in about 24,000 square feet of retail floor space in the 36,000-square-foot building.

“Mardel has been steadily expanding into more and more states, starting with increased presence on the east coast, primarily along the Bible Belt (I-40 corridor),” a company spokesperson said in an email to News Channel 11. “We’re excited to be branching out to new markets that fit our demographic.”

The company’s 40th store is expected to open early this fall and employ 15 to 20 people.

The Oklahoma-headquartered chain currently operates in 11 states.

WHAT: Tennessee’s first-ever Mardel Christian & Education store with 24,000 square feet of retail space.

WHERE: 3211 Peoples Street Johnson City (Johnson City Crossing).

WHO: Mardel (affiliated with Hobby Lobby).

WHEN: Work is underway. The store is expected to open in early fall.

YOUR TAX BENEFIT: Significant local option sales tax revenue in addition to property taxes.