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Michael's Shares Ends Flat in Trading Debut

Tickers in this article: GRPO MIK SERV

This story has been updated from 12:33 pm ET with CEO comments, stock price update.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Michaels , the arts and crafts specialty retailer that was taken private in 2006, fell as much as 2% shortly after the company returned to the public markets Friday, but reversed its losses to end the day effectively flat at $17.02.

Late Thursday, Michaels raised $472 million after pricing 27.8 million shares at $17 a share, according to a press release . The price, which was at the low-end of the range given in the company's regulatory filing, had valued the company at roughly $3.45 billion. In 2006, the company was taken private by Bain Capital and Blackstone Group in a transaction valued at about $6 billion. Michaels does not plan on paying any cash dividends in the near future and will instead use earnings to repay part of its $3.7 billion in debt and reinvest in the company. 

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Michael's traded "as if there was a good amount of fluff (overstated demand) in the book," Scott Sweet, senior managing partner of IPO Boutique, wrote in an email to TheStreet earlier in the day. "It opened flat and broke the IPO price very quickly, never a good sign."

In a video interview on Friday, CEO Carl "Chuck" Rubin said that the company is not focused on short-term stock moves but longer-term results. "We know over time that we've got a terrific foundation, a more exciting strategy that's going to lead us forward," Rubin said. "We're much more focused on the long term and doing what's right for our customers, which will then translate into something that's great for investors and less focused on what happened in the first day of trading."

With more than 1,200 stores, Michael's is facing intense competition from mass-market retailers such as Walmart , Target and Amazon , as well as smaller chains Hobby Lobby Stores , Jo-Ann Stores and AC Moore . However the trend toward do-it-yourself crafting projects both for personal and for sale has reached ardent fervor thanks to social media sites like Pinterest, marketplace sites like Etsy and the growing online crafting educational platform, Craftsy . The company said in the filing that it plans to open as many as 45 new stores, which includes 10 to 15 relocations in 2014.

"Social media is one of the greatest things for our business because people are seeing things that other people make with their own hands, their own creativity, they see these things posted on Pinterest, Facebook, you see it even in mainstream media like HGTV. We think that's inspiring people to go out and try to make things on their own," Rubin noted. "That will translate into customers, which will translate into sales."