Mart Green is the son of David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby. Mart started the Mardel chain of Christian stores when he was only nineteen years old. He opened its first location in Oklahoma City on June 1, 1981. Though the first store was only 7,200 square feet, it displayed a wide variety of items that included Bibles, books, gifts, music and office supplies. Mardel has grown and currently has thirty-five retail operations, located in the central area states of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Louisiana.
Mardel is part of the Hobby Lobby group of companies, though the two businesses are not affiliated. Each of the Mardel stores now averages about 25,000 square feet. Many items have been added to their inventory, including movies, products, for children, clothing, and education and homeschool curriculum supplies.
In January, 2005, Mart Green was named by Christian Retailing as one of the Top Fifty People who have most impacted and shaped Christian retailing in the last half century. The 2008 Jim Carlson Christian Bookstore of the Year Award was presented to Mardel by CBS in July of that year.
The mission statement for Mardel says: “Our mission is to equip the whole person by being a resource center that provides for spiritual and intellectual needs. ‘For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God’. (Ephesians 4:12).” NAS
The company slogan is “Renewing Minds—Transforming Lives”, reflecting their vision to help change lives with the products they sell.
The company donates ten percent of pre-tax profits to support their goal of providing Bibles around the world. Much of this donation is given to Wycliffe Bible Translators to facilitate the printing of Bibles in languages that have been translated by Wycliffe.
In November 2007 Mart Green pledged $70 million to Oral Roberts University (ORU), which went towards retiring much of the university’s debt. An additional gift of $10 million was given to ORU in January, 2009, for campus renovations. In December, 2010, the Green family announced they would make a gift of another $10 million in 2011 to be used for renovations and technology improvements. This brings the total donations to ORU by the Greens to $110 million. Mart Green has served as Chairman of the Board at ORU since January 2008. The Green family has also considered the specific needs and mission of several other charities that Mardel donates to substantially.
Green is also founder and CEO of Bearing Fruit Communications, which produced the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor. His feature film production company, Every Tribe Entertainment, released the movie End of the Spear in 2006, which tells the powerful story of the tribe in Ecuador that speared five missionaries in 1956, and depicts the great hope that followed this tragedy. The movie has had great impact and is now shown around the world.