Hobby Lobby

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Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
TypePrivate
IndustryRetail
FoundedAugust 3, 1972; 50 years ago (1972-08-03) (as Hobby Lobby Creative Centers)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
FounderDavid Green
Headquarters
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
,
U.S.
Number of locations
969
Area served
United States
Key people
  • David Green (CEO)
  • Steve Green (President)
  • Jon Cargill (CFO)
ProductsArts and crafts supplies
RevenueIncrease $5 billion (2018)[1]
OwnerGreen family
Number of employees
43,000+ (2020)[2]
Websitewww.hobbylobby.com

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., formerly Hobby Lobby Creative Centers, is an American retail company. It owns a chain of arts and crafts stores with a volume of over $5 billion in 2018.[1] The chain has 969 stores in 47 states. A Christian-owned company, Hobby Lobby incorporates American conservative values and Christian media.

History[edit]

In 1972, David Green opened the first Hobby Lobby store in northwest Oklahoma City. Green left his supervisor position with variety store TG&Y to open a second Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City in 1975. He opened an additional store in Tulsa, Oklahoma the next year. Hobby Lobby grew to seven stores by mid-1982, and the first store outside Oklahoma opened in 1984. When Green expanded the scope of the business to include furniture and high-end cookware during the early 1980s, it led to losses as the economy slowed. He returned to an arts and crafts emphasis and by late-1992, the chain had grown to 50 locations in seven U.S. states.[3]

A Christian-owned company, Hobby Lobby incorporates American conservative values and Christian media.[4][5] David Green, the son of a preacher,[6] declares on the Hobby Lobby web site, "Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles."[2] All stores are closed on Sundays to "allow employees time for family and worship," according to signs posted on the front doors of their retail stores.[7]

The company's full-time hourly wage had been $15 since 2014. They announced on September 14, 2020, that it would be raised to $17 effective October 1, 2020.[8] It continued that trend by raising the minimum full-time hourly wage to $18.50, effective Jan. 1, 2022, while increasing its part-time minimum hourly wage by 18% to $13. Hobby Lobby says it has raised its minimum wage twelve times over the thirteen years through 2021.[9]

Retail strategy[edit]

As of 2022 Hobby Lobby has 969 stores in 47 states (every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont).[10]

Hobby Lobby typically seeks to rent big-box facilities, such as previously occupied supermarkets, hardware stores or Kmarts in mid- to high-income suburban areas. This allows the company to save 50–70 percent on an older, existing building lease as compared with constructing a new retail space, which they view as critical to their competitive advantage in the arts and crafts industry. Their stores range in size up to 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2), and they draw customers from a 10–15-mile (16–24 km) radius.[7]

Controversies[edit]

The business and its owners have been the subject of controversies and scandals including accusations of anti-Semitism, homophobia, LGBTQ discrimination, attempts to evangelize public schools, "efforts to deny access to contraceptives for employees," "discrimination and illegally smuggled artifacts to endangering employees during the coronavirus pandemic."[11]

Opposition to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act[edit]

David Green took a public stance against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,[12] citing its mandating that companies provide access to contraception and the morning-after pill.[13] In September 2012, Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit against the United States over new regulations requiring health insurance provided by employers to cover emergency contraceptives.

The company released the following statement: "[T]he Green family's religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices".[14] Hobby Lobby argued that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act serve to protect their religious beliefs, and accordingly bars the application of the contraceptive mandate to them.[15]

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the company's application for an injunction, prompting the firm to sue the federal government.[16] On July 19, 2013, US District Judge Joe Heaton granted the company a temporary exemption from the contraceptive-providing mandate.[17] On January 28, 2014, the Center for Inquiry filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court.[18] They argued that were the court to grant Hobby Lobby an exclusion, the firm would violate the Establishment Clause, along with part of the First Amendment. Oral arguments in the case, then known as Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, were heard on March 25, 2014.[19] On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled 5–4, that Hobby Lobby and other "closely held" stock corporations can choose to be exempt from the law based on religious preferences, based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act but not on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[20][21]

Items relating to Jewish holidays[edit]

In September 2013, a shopper reported being told by a store employee, in Marlboro, New Jersey, that Hobby Lobby did not carry merchandise celebrating Jewish holidays, as the store did not "cater to you people." David Green issued a formal apology to the Anti-Defamation League, who accepted it in a published statement.[22] In addition, Steve Green, the son of David Green, issued a statement that the stores had carried Jewish items in the past, and would be testing the market to do so in the future.[23][24] In 2017, Snopes re-examined this issue and reported that this claim, that Hobby Lobby was still not selling Jewish holiday merchandise, was "Outdated."[23]

Smuggling and collections management controversies[edit]

Beginning in 2009, representatives of Hobby Lobby were warned that artifacts they were purchasing were probably looted from Iraq.[25] The purchases had been made for the Museum of the Bible, which the company was sponsoring. In 2018, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York directed Hobby Lobby to return the artifacts and pay a fine of US$3,000,000. Hobby Lobby returned over 5500 items in May 2018.[26][27][28] Among these, were nearly 4000 tablets supposed to be from the lost city of Irisagrig which had been delivered to Hobby Lobby marked as "tile samples."[29]

In April 2020, the centerpiece of the Museum of the Bible's collection, the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, were declared to be fakes.[30] After its authenticity was questioned, the museum removed the display of a miniature bible which a NASA astronaut had purportedly carried to the moon.[31]

In a further blow to the Museum of the Bible's credibility, board chairman Steve Green, who is also president of the Hobby Lobby stores, announced the museum would be returning over eleven thousand artifacts to Egypt and Iraq. The collection included thousands of papyrus scraps and ancient clay pieces. University of Manchester papyrologist, Roberta Mazza, stated that the Green family "poured millions on the legal and illegal antiquities market without having a clue about the history, the material features, cultural value, fragilities, and problems of the objects".[32]

In early July 2017, US federal prosecutors filed a civil complaint in the Eastern District of New York under the case name United States of America v. Approximately Four Hundred Fifty Ancient Cuneiform Tablets and Approximately Three Thousand Ancient Clay Bullae.[33] On July 5, 2017, Hobby Lobby consented to a settlement requiring forfeiture of the artifacts, the payment of a fine of $3 million, and the return of over 5500 artifacts.[34][35][36] In January 2021, the chairman of the board of the Museum of the Bible, Steve Green, released the following statement: “We transferred control of the fine art storage facility that housed the 5,000 Egyptian items to the U.S. government as part of a voluntary administrative process. We understand the U.S. government has now delivered the papyri to Egyptian officials". That was in addition to 8000 clay objects transferred to Baghdad's Iraq Museum.[37]

The returned items include the "Gilgamesh Dream Tablet", containing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, discovered in Iraq in 1853, sold by the Jordanian Antiquities Association to an antiquities dealer in 2003,[38] and sold again by Christie's auction house to Hobby Lobby in 2014, for $1.6 million. The auction house lied about how the artifact had entered the market, claiming it had been on the market in the United States for decades. In September 2019, federal authorities seized the tablet, and in May 2020, a civil complaint was filed to forfeit it.[39][40] In July 2021, the United States Department of Justice announced it had seized the Gilgamesh tablet from Hobby Lobby for repatriation to Iraq.[clarification needed] Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, for the Eastern District of New York, stated: “This office is committed to combating the black-market sale of cultural property and the smuggling of looted artifacts”. Hobby Lobby failed to follow expert advice on antiquities collecting which has resulted in multiple seizures and fines.[41][42]

Reaction to COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

In late March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and state and local administrations were issuing stay-at-home orders, Hobby Lobby announced its stores would remain open. The company claimed to be an essential service as they sell fabric and school supplies.[43][44] In a reversal, in April 2020, Hobby Lobby closed all stores and furloughed nearly all employees without pay, announcing that they were "ending emergency leave pay and suspending use of company provided paid time off benefits and vacation."[45]

Gender non-conforming access to bathrooms at stores[edit]

Trans woman Meggan Sommerville won a unanimous decision in Illinois state appellate court that she has the right to use women's room at work on August 13, 2021. She had been an employee there for 22 years, transitioned in July 2010, was written up at work for using the women's room in early 2011 and started pursuing legal remedies in February 2013. The decision also allows her to pursue the US$220,000 in damages awarded by the Illinois Human Rights Commission.[46]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hobby Lobby Stores". Forbes.com LLC. 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Hobby Lobby: Our Story". Hobby Lobby. 2020. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  3. ^ "Hobby Lobby will open 42,000 square feet store". Southeast Missourian.
  4. ^ Reynolds, Matt (September 29, 2015). "How Christian Institutions Can Stay Christian Amid Secular Pressure". ChristianityToday.com. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  5. ^ Mayer, Marissa (December 16, 2021). "'Sharing the Lord's Blessings': The Reason Hobby Lobby Is Raising Its Minimum Wage to $18.50". Pure Flix Insider. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  6. ^ Solomon, Brian (October 8, 2012). "Meet David Green: Hobby Lobby's Biblical Billionaire". Forbes.
  7. ^ a b Thurston, Susan (20 January 2014). "Hobby Lobby's religious convictions aren't for sale". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  8. ^ Travis Leder (September 14, 2020). "Hobby Lobby to raise company's minimum wage in October for full-time workers". Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  9. ^ Tyko, Kelly (14 December 2021). "Hobby Lobby raises minimum wage to $18.50 an hour for full-time workers starting Jan. 1". Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Number of Hobby Lobby locations in the United States in 2022". ScrapeHero. February 23, 2022. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  11. ^ Biron, Bethany; Schlitz, Heather (September 10, 2020). "Here are 16 of the biggest controversies in the craft chain's nearly 50-year history". Business Insider. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  12. ^ Green, David (September 18, 2013). "Hobby Lobby CEO: Here's Why Obamacare Is A Total Affront To My Religious Beliefs". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  13. ^ Graber, Mark (2016). American Governance. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. p. 178. ISBN 9780028662558.
  14. ^ "Retailer, family sue over contraception". UPI Newstrack. September 13, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  15. ^ Scudder, Mark D.; Barnes & Thornburg LLP (November 28, 2013). "It's Official – The Supreme Court Announces That It Will Review The Contraceptive Mandate". The National Law Review. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  16. ^ "Supreme Court denies Hobby Lobby request for reprieve from health care mandate". Fox News. Fox News. 2012-12-26. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
  17. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (July 19, 2013). "Hobby Lobby wins a stay against birth control mandate". Reuters. Reuters.com. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
  18. ^ "Press release – Amicus brief to Supreme Court". Center For Inquiry. Center For Inquiry. January 28, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  19. ^ "Oral Arguments: Argument transcripts" (PDF). SupremeCourt.gov. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  20. ^ Bravin, Jess (July 1, 2014). "Supreme Court Exempts Some Companies From Health Care Law On Religious Grounds". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A1, A6.
  21. ^ "Supreme Court Rules Against Obamacare". Reason.com. June 30, 2014.
  22. ^ JTA. "ADL Accepts Hobby Lobby Apology". Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  23. ^ a b Emery, David (9 October 2017). "Does Hobby Lobby Refuse to Sell Jewish Holiday Items?". Snopes.com. Snopes. Archived from the original on 15 April 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Hobby Lobby will offer Jewish holiday items". The Christian Century. Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  25. ^ "United States Returns Thousands of Ancient Artifacts to Iraq". Targeted News Service. May 3, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  26. ^ Connor, Tracy; Arkin, Daniel (July 6, 2017). "Spotlight on Hobby Lobby's Biblical Collection After Smuggle Case". NBC News. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  27. ^ "ICE returns thousands of ancient artifacts seized from Hobby Lobby to Iraq" (Press release). U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. February 5, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  28. ^ James, Mike (6 July 2017). "Hobby Lobby fined $3M over 5,500 smuggled Iraqi artifacts". USA Today. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  29. ^ McGlone, Peggy (May 2, 2018). "Hobby Lobby forced to return artifacts to Iraq". Chicago Tribune. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  30. ^ Mashberg, Tom (April 6, 2020). "Bible Museum, Admitting Mistakes, Tries to Convert Its Critics". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  31. ^ Miller, Ken (5 October 2019). "Museum of the Bible quietly replaces questioned artifact". Yahoo! Lifestyle. Associated Press. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  32. ^ Cascone, Sarah (30 March 2020). "Amid Scrutiny, the Museum of the Bible's Founder Will Return a Staggering 11,500 Artifacts of Dubious Origin to the Middle East". ArtNet News. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  33. ^ Green, Emma (2017-07-05). "Hobby Lobby Purchased Thousands of Ancient Artifacts Smuggled Out of Iraq".
  34. ^ James, Mike (July 6, 2017). "Hobby Lobby fined $3M over 5,500 smuggled Iraqi artifacts". USA Today. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  35. ^ Feuer, Alan (2017-07-05). "Hobby Lobby Agrees to Forfeit 5,500 Artifacts Smuggled Out of Iraq". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  36. ^ Siu, Diamond Naga. "Hobby Lobby agrees to $3 million fine, forfeiture of thousands of Iraqi relics". Politico.
  37. ^ Goldstein, Caroline (29 January 2021). "The Museum of the Bible Must Once Again Return Artifacts, This Time an Entire Warehouse of 5,000 Egyptian Objects". Artnet. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  38. ^ Meier, Martin Gottlieb With Barry (2003-05-01). "Aftereffects: The Plunder; Of 2,000 Treasures Stolen in Gulf War of 1991, Only 12 Have Been Recovered". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  39. ^ Stelloh, Tim (18 May 2020). "Authorities announce forfeiture of ancient Gilgamesh tablet from Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible". NBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Civil action filed to forfeit rare cuneiform tablet from Hobby Lobby". www.ice.gov. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  41. ^ "Rare Cuneiform Tablet Bearing Portion of Epic of Gilgamesh Forfeited to United States". United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  42. ^ Stieb, Matt. "DOJ Seizes Tablet of Stolen 'Epic of Gilgamesh' From Hobby Lobby". New York Magazine. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  43. ^ "Pinched by shutdown orders, Hobby Lobby closes stores". The Washington Post. April 3, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.[dead link]
  44. ^ Ricciardi, Tiney (31 March 2020). "Hobby Lobby remains open in defiance of Colorado's stay-at-home order, highlighting uncertainty around mandate". The Denver Post. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  45. ^ Martin, Jeffery (April 3, 2020). "Hobby Lobby to Close All Stores, Furlough Employees with no pay after Claiming to be 'Essential Business'". Newsweek.
  46. ^ Schoenberg, Nara. "Illinois court sides with transgender woman in her 10-year battle with Hobby Lobby over the right to use the women's restroom at work". chicagotribune.com. Archived from the original on August 24, 2021. Retrieved 2021-09-13.

External links[edit]