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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. As of 2020, the chain has more than 900 locations nationwide.

David Green, the son of a preacher, 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.”

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.

Their full-time hourly wage had been $15 since 2014. They announced on September 14, 2020 that it would be raised to $17 effective October 1, 2020.

Opposition to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

David Green took a public stance against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, citing its mandating that companies provide access to contraception and the morning-after pill. 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: “The 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.

On January 28, 2014, the Center for Inquiry filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court. 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.

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.