Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., formerly Hobby Lobby Creative Centers, is a private for-profit corporation which owns a chain of American arts and crafts stores with a volume of over $5 billion in 2018.[1]

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
FoundedAugust 3, 1972; 47 years ago (1972-08-03) (as Hobby Lobby Creative Centers)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
FounderDavid Green
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Number of locations
932 (2020)
Key people
ProductsArts and crafts supplies
RevenueIncrease US$5 billion (2018)[1]
Number of employees
37,500 (2018)[1]

It has been involved in a number of controversies including an artifact smuggling scandal.


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.[2] As of 2020, the chain has more than 900 locations nationwide.[3]

David Green, the son of a preacher,[4] 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."[5]

Hobby Lobby stores and facilities are open for business every day with the exception of Sunday. According to CEO David Green, this is to allow employees to have more time to spend for worship, rest, and family.[6]


Opposition to Patient Protection and Affordable Care ActEdit

David Green took a public stance against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,[7] citing its mandating that companies provide access to contraception and the morning-after pill.[8] 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".[9] 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.[10]

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the company's application for an injunction, prompting the firm to sue the federal government.[11] On July 19, 2013, US District Judge Joe Heaton granted the company a temporary exemption from the contraceptive-providing mandate.[12] On January 28, 2014, the Center for Inquiry filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15][16]

Items relating to Jewish holidaysEdit

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.[17] 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.[18][19] Snopes re-examined this issue and reported that the claim that Hobby Lobby was still not selling merchandise for the Jewish holidays in late 2017 was "Outdated."[18]

Smuggling and collections management controversiesEdit

Beginning in 2009, representatives of Hobby Lobby were warned that artifacts they were purchasing were likely looted from Iraq.[20] The purchases had been made for the Museum of the Bible, which they were 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.[21][22][23] 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."[24]

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.[25]

After its authenticity was questioned, the museum removed the display of a miniature bible which a NASA astronaut had purportedly carried to the moon.[26]

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 will be returning over eleven thousand artifacts to Egypt and Iraq. The collection includes thousands of papyrus scraps and ancient clay pieces. Manchester University 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."[27]

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.[28] On July 5, 2017, Hobby Lobby consented to a settlement requiring forfeiture of the artifacts and payment of a fine of $3 million and the return of over 5500 artifacts.[29][30][31]

This return includes 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,[32] 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.[33][34]

Reaction to 2020 coronavirusEdit

In late March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and U.S. citizens were increasingly being subjected, on a state-by-state basis, to 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.[35][36] 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."[37]


  1. ^ a b c "Hobby Lobby Stores". Forbes.com LLC. 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "Hobby Lobby will open 42,000 square feet store". Southeast Missourian.
  3. ^ "Summary Report". Reference USA: Business. April 9, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Solomon, Brian (October 8, 2012). "Meet David Green: Hobby Lobby's Biblical Billionaire". Forbes.
  5. ^ "Hobby Lobby: Our Story". Hobby Lobby. 2020. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  6. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Hobby Lobby. 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Graber, Mark (2016). American Governance. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. p. 178. ISBN 9780028662558.
  9. ^ "Retailer, family sue over contraception". UPI Newstrack. September 13, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Supreme Court denies Hobby Lobby request for reprieve from health care mandate". Fox News. Fox News. 2012-12-26. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
  12. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (July 19, 2013). "Hobby Lobby wins a stay against birth control mandate". Reuters. Reuters.com. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
  13. ^ "Press release - Amicus brief to Supreme Court". Center For Inquiry. Center For Inquiry. January 28, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  14. ^ "Oral Arguments: Argument transcripts" (PDF). SupremeCourt.gov. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  15. ^ Bravin, Jess (July 1, 2014). "Supreme Court Exempts Some Companies From Health Care Law On Religious Grounds". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A1, A6.
  16. ^ "Supreme Court Rules Against Obamacare". Reason.com. June 30, 2014.
  17. ^ "ADL Accepts Apology of Hobby Lobby for Insensitive Remarks of Store Employee". State News Service. October 4, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Anonymous (October 20, 2013). "Hobby Lobby will offer Jewish holiday items". The Christian Century. 130: 14 – via General ProQuest.
  20. ^ "United States Returns Thousands of Ancient Artifacts to Iraq". Targeted News Service. May 3, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  21. ^ Connor, Tracy; Arkin, Daniel (July 6, 2017). "Spotlight on Hobby Lobby's Biblical Collection After Smuggle Case". NBC News. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ James, Mike (6 July 2017). "Hobby Lobby fined $3M over 5,500 smuggled Iraqi artifacts". USA Today. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  24. ^ McGlone, Peggy (May 2, 2018). "Hobby Lobby forced to return artifacts to Iraq". Chicago Tribune. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  25. ^ Mashberg, Tom (April 6, 2020). "Bible Museum, Admitting Mistakes, Tries to Convert Its Critics". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  26. ^ Miller, Ken (5 October 2019). "Museum of the Bible quietly replaces questioned artifact". Yahoo! Lifestyle. Associated Press. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Green, Emma (2017-07-05). "Hobby Lobby Purchased Thousands of Ancient Artifacts Smuggled Out of Iraq".
  29. ^ James, Mike (July 6, 2017). "Hobby Lobby fined $3M over 5,500 smuggled Iraqi artifacts". USA Today. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Siu, Diamond Naga. "Hobby Lobby agrees to $3 million fine, forfeiture of thousands of Iraqi relics". POLITICO.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ "Civil action filed to forfeit rare cuneiform tablet from Hobby Lobby". www.ice.gov. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  35. ^ "Pinched by shutdown orders, Hobby Lobby closes stores". The Washington Post. April 3, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ Martin, Jeffery (April 3, 2020). "Hobby Lobby to Close All Stores, Furlough Employees with no pay after Claiming to be 'Essential Business'". Newsweek.

External linksEdit