Despite the controversy regarding the recent Supreme Court Case, Hobby Lobby seems to be thriving and plans to open 70 new stores in 2014. Five of those Hobby Lobby stores are opening right here in South Florida. In April, a Hobby Lobby South Florida craft store opened in Davie with grand openings slated for Miami on August 18 and Boca Raton on September 29. Additional locations are in the works for Coral Springs and Deerfield Beach with opening dates to be announced.
Founded by David Green in an Oklahoma City garage in 1972 with $600 in borrowed funds, Hobby Lobby has always been a family business. In the company’s early days, David, his wife Barbara and their two sons, Steve and Mart, would work together building frames around the kitchen table. The first retail location was just 300 square feet. Today, the family business has grown into more than 556 stores in 41 states with over 16,000 full-time employees.
A case for religious liberty
Hobby Lobby was thrust into the limelight due to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby over whether business owners lose their religious freedom when they open a family business. On June 30, 2014, the court ruled 5-4 in favor of David and Barbara Green and their family business, Hobby Lobby, deciding that they will not be required to violate their faith by including four potentially life-terminating drugs and devices in the company’s health insurance plan or pay severe fines.
After the ruling, Barbara Green, Hobby Lobby co-founder said in a statement, “Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision. . . The Court’s decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey.”
A fiery debate followed the Hobby Lobby decision with all sorts of claims made about what the decision means. As a result, there are strong opinions both in support and against the views of the family-owned business. Yet in the midst of this firestorm, the business continues to grow.
When asked what they attribute their success to, the Green family believes that “it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured.” Therefore they seek to honor God by “operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.” The Greens live out their evangelical Christian faith in every aspect of their business including closing on Sundays, the most productive and profitable day of the week for any retail business.
Why did Hobby Lobby choose South Florida? According to Vincent Parker, director of training and customer service for Hobby Lobby, “There are many factors our team will review prior to opening stores in an area. One big factor is our customers; every day we receive emails asking for a store in their particular area. We feel that we can bring a very unique shopping experience to the area and we are looking forward to becoming part of the community.”
A generous gift
David Green is no stranger to South Florida. In 2004, the Green family purchased what was once an abandoned hospital in Pompano and donated it to the Book of Hope, (now called One Hope) a ministry that presents the Word of God in an engaging way to children and youth in the nations. Today The Marie Green Forum provides office space for interdenominational ministries, meeting space and hotel space for missionaries and others visiting the area. Making the donation a decade ago in honor of his mother, Marie Green, who was a travelling evangelist, David Green said “It was God’s leading.”
When asked if Hobby Lobby will expand its involvement with The Form, Parker said, “We will continue our relationship with the Hoskins Family and Book of Hope.”
The Hobby Lobby stores will also bring jobs to the area. “We always hope to hire anywhere from 30 to 50 local employees in various positions: cashiers, stockers, custom picture framers, office managers, floral designers and ‘department heads’ for the different areas of each store,” said Parker. “Pay for full time employees starts at $15 per hour and $10 for part time.”
With something for everyone, Parker said, “There is no one in the craft and home decor market like us. With over 70,000 products in 13 departments (Floral, fabric, needlework, frames, art, hobbies, wearable’s, jewelry, crafts, cards and party, scrapbooking, seasonal and home accents. The stores advertise weekly specials which can be viewed on their website at www.hobbylobby.com.
For more articles by Shelly Pond, please visit goodnewsfl.org/author/shelly/