A Hobby Lobby location in Stow, Ohio
|Founded||August 3, 1972 (as Hobby Lobby Creative Centers)|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
Number of locations
|822 stores (2018)|
|Products||Arts and crafts supplies|
|Revenue||US$ 4.3 billion (2016)|
Number of employees
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., formerly called Hobby Lobby Creative Centers, is a private for-profit corporation which owns a chain of American arts and crafts stores that are managed by corporate employees. The company is based in Oklahoma City.
David Green opened the first Hobby Lobby store, in a 300-square-foot (28 m2) space in northwest Oklahoma City, in 1972. Retail sales were $3,200 from August to the end of the year. He moved to a larger 1,000 square foot space in January 1973. Green left his supervisor position with variety store TG&Y to open a second Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City in 1975, and a store opened in Tulsa, Oklahoma the next year. It grew to seven stores by mid 1982, and the first store outside Oklahoma opened in 1984.
By the start of 1989, the chain had about 15 stores. By late 1992, it had grown to 50 locations in seven U.S. states, and its growth continued to accelerate. Its 100th store opened in August 1995, and its 200th in August 1999. By March 2002, that number had grown to 281 stores in 24 states, and 310 by October 2003.
Opposition to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
David Green took a public stance against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, citing its inclusion of a provision mandating that companies provide access to the morning-after pill, which some consider an abortifacient.
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, stating: "[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". 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. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the company's application for an injunction, prompting the firm to sue the federal government. On July 19, 2013, US District Judge Joe Heaton granted the company a temporary exemption from the contraceptive-providing mandate.
In contrast, on January 28, 2014, the Center for Inquiry filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that were the court to grant Hobby Lobby an exclusion which permitted the company to exclude any specific healthcare service from its provision to employees on the basis of the owners' religious beliefs, the firm would violate the Establishment Clause, also part of the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".
U.S. Supreme Court decision
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.
Hobby Lobby stores and facilities are open for business every day with the exception of Sunday to allow employees to have more time to spend for worship, rest, and family. A statement on the company's website says, "This has not been an easy decision for Hobby Lobby because we realize that this decision may cost us financially. Yet we also realize that there are things more important than profits. This is a matter of principle for our company owner and officers."
Rather than using a barcode system, the company uses manual pricing for product ordering and accounting. The website states they "continue to look at and review the option of scanning at the registers but do not feel it is right for [them] at this time".
Non-stocking of items relating to Jewish holidays
In September 2013, a shopper reported being told by a store employee, in Marlboro, New Jersey, Hobby Lobby did not carry merchandise celebrating Jewish holidays. While the store carried Christmas items, they did not carry items related to bar mitzvah, Hanukkah, or Passover. The store employee told the shopper these items were not sold due to the owner's Christian values. In response, Hobby Lobby apologized for the employee's comments, stating that it has carried Jewish holiday items in the past and would do so in test areas beginning in November 2013.
Starting in 2009 representatives of Hobby Lobby organized archaeological looting in Iraq and Caesarea to present smuggled artifacts to the Museum of the Bible. In 2017 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 the items in May 2018.
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