This story is about David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby. It shows how God has richly blessed one of His loyal and staunch servants. It all began in 1970 in David Green's garage. Green borrowed $600; then he, his wife and their young children began assembling miniature picture frames, a decorating fad at that time. But, God wasn't going to leave the project in the garage!
By August of 1972, the business was doing so well, that the Greens opened their first retail store, And, in only 300 square feet of space! The business has continued to grow. Hobby Lobby now has over 600 stores across the nation, and each store averages about 55,000 square feet. The organization is an industry-leading retailer, and though still expanding, has no long-term debt. Their stores offer more than 70,000 arts, crafts, hobbies, home decor, Holiday and seasonal products.
The stores are open Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays. Hobby Lobby closes its stores by 8:00 p.m., and is the only billion-dollar company that does. All stores are closed on Sundays to allow time for employee families to worship. Green has said there could be millions more in sales generated by being open nation-wide on Sundays, but he is firm about his priorities.
Christian music is played in all of the stores for the encouragement of staff and customers. David Green pays his employees several dollars above the minimum wage, and strives to maintain a deep loyalty to his employees as well as to the customers. Churches, schools and national charitable organizations are given a 10% discount when the purchases are paid for by an organizational check or credit card. (Check with the local store manager for the details.)
As Green stated in an interview with ChristiaNet, “All the things we do, all our behavior, should let others know that we are living by, and operating in, Biblical principles. Principle and character are the highest quality traits on our list.” He continued, “Our organization wants to be remembered as one that knows the difference between temporal and eternal.” Affiliates of Hobby Lobby include Hemispheres (home furnishings and accessories from around the world), and independently-run Mardel Christian Stores (founded by son, Mart Green).
Forbes Magazine named David Green as "the largest evangelical benefactor in the world". His empire is estimated to be more than $5.1 billion, which Green has said all belongs to God. He and his family have given millions to Christian causes and education. Their donations have benefited several universities, including Liberty University and Oral Roberts University. David Green and Hobby Lobby have provided over 1.4 billion copies of the Gospels in more than one hundred countries, located mostly in Africa and Asia. The OneHope Foundation provides Scripture that is tailored to young children. Evangelists are sent door-to-door to distribute Bible booklets in the poorest of countries around the world. Green is a sponsor of the YouVersion Bible App, which provides almost 300 different Scripture versions in 144 languages! It has been downloaded millions of times.
Over decades David Green has created a huge private collection of handwritten scrolls, rare books and ancient cuneiform tablets. It is called "The Green Collection" and includes some 44,000 artifacts. It is probably the largest such collection in the world. There are plans to house this repository of biblical antiquities in a Bible Museum in Washington, D.C. within the next 3-4 years.
In July, 2014, Hobby Lobby won a case in the Supreme Court that ruled companies with religious objections can opt out of providing women with contraception coverage under Obamacare. It was also the first time the Court declared that religious views can be held by businesses. This decision could have implications far beyond the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
David Green has a set the bar for successfully running a business and living his life according to Biblical principles.