Hobby Lobby exterior
Source: Hobby Lobby Media Library

Hobby Lobby Makes Plans for the Future After Series of Lawsuits

Kathryn Underwood - Author
By

Jan. 4 2023, Published 1:44 p.m. ET

For many companies, rumors that they might close down float around on a regular basis. Craft store chain Hobby Lobby has been the subject of such rumors in recent years, as temporary closures prompted questions about the company's long-term plans. Is Hobby Lobby going out of business, are are those simply rumors?

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According to the company, there aren't any plans of closing down business. Of course, there's always a slight possibility of a large company going out of business suddenly, but how is Hobby Lobby doing financially? Let's look at what's happened to Hobby Lobby in the past few years.

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Source: Hobby Lobby Facebook
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Hobby Lobby has faced a number of lawsuits over the years.

Hobby Lobby, a store that sells craft supplies in nearly all 50 states, has been the source of numerous lawsuits since its founding. The company frequently has gone against societal expectations on the grounds of religious freedom, as the founders are devout evangelical Christians.

Founder and CEO David Green, who is worth approximately $14 billion today, has remained at the helm of Hobby Lobby since launching it in 1970. One of the high-profile lawsuits Hobby Lobby faced was in 2014, when the Supreme Court ruled that companies like Hobby Lobby could opt out of providing certain forms of contraception to employees.

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Groups like Planned Parenthood disagreed with the decision, while Hobby Lobby stated their case didn't take away women's right to contraception, but only to four types that "could terminate life." Worries ensued that the case could lead to other restrictive employer policies, such as refusal to pay benefits for a same-sex spouse.

Recently, Hobby Lobby faced criticism for not closing stores during the COVID-19 pandemic immediately when ordered to do so. (It eventually complied with closures and furloughed employees.)

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Source: Hobby Lobby Media Library

Hobby Lobby sells crafting supplies as well as home decor and similar items.

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In July 2022, Hobby Lobby was sued by a former employee for allegedly violating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). At an Olathe, Kans., store, managers refused to allow an employee to bring her service dog, which was used to help her cope with symptoms of PTSD. The employee was then fired without the company attempting to provide a reasonable accommodation, the lawsuit said.

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Who owns Hobby Lobby?

Hobby Lobby is a family-owned business, primarily owned by 81-year-old David Green and his wife. In the fall of 2022, Green published an op-ed with Fox Business indicating his plans to give away ownership of the massively valuable company. Green said he "chose God" rather than wealth.

The wealthy founder stated that he had moved 100 percent of the company's voting stock into a trust intended to continue the mission to support causes Green supports. He later told Stuart Varney, "We really wanted to do something that mattered a hundred years from now," referring to various ministries.

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The Hobby Lobby founder wants to follow the Bible and its teachings, which led him to make the decision to "give away" the company. Comparing himself to Patagonia founder Yves Chouinard, he said they're choosing purpose instead of "going public" or selling the company to pass on to his heirs.

Green has already spent much of his fortune to further Christian ministries and initiatives, including funding the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. He reportedly spent $500 million of his own money on the construction and creation of that museum.

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David Green
Source: Getty Images
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Green, son of founder David Green and president of the Museum of the Bible, returned thousands of reportedly "looted artifacts" to Iraq in July 2021, The Washington Post reported. The museum was "setting an example for responsible ownership of foreign cultural heritage," said the Post.

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The Greens plan to use Hobby Lobby money to help fund Christian ministries in various forms. Green refers to this as "stewardship" — using the money from the company he founded in purposeful ways instead of viewing the money as his own.

Is Hobby Lobby going out of business?

Green's recent decision to "give away" Hobby Lobby doesn't mean it's going out of business. Rather, he plans to continue using revenue to fund causes he cares about. The company only closed down stores temporarily, when required to do so due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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