Is Hobby Lobby Really Closing 500+ Stores Due to Obamacare?

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Misleading Headline on Viral Letter by Hobby Lobby CEO

Hobby Lobby store
The headline of a viral article attributed to Hobby Lobby CEO David Green misleadingly suggests the company is closing more than 500 stores. Joe Raedle / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Description: Viral article / Open letter
Circulating since: September 2013 (this version)
Status: Misrepresented (details below)

Via, Sep. 5, 2013:

Hobby Lobby May Close All 500+ Stores in 41 States

September 5, 2013

By David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word.
From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the  nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest.

We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at  80% above minimum wage. But now, our government threatens to change all of that.

A new government healthcare mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs.

- Full Text -

Analysis: The open letter excerpted above was indeed written by David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, a family-owned chain of arts and crafts supply stores with more than 500 locations headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Its purpose was to rally public support for the company's religious-based legal challenge against a provision of Obamacare requiring employer-provided health insurance plans to cover emergency contraception.

As originally written, however, Mr. Green's letter makes no mention of closing any Hobby Lobby locations. It acquired its misinformative title when it was republished a year later on the political blog Tom O' It has been reposted many, many times since and is still circulating under that misleading headline. Why? Because it gets people riled up.

The fact is, at no time has any representative of Hobby Lobby suggested that stores may be closed in connection with the Obamacare lawsuit. To the contrary, the company has sought to rebut such rumors by announcing that it would open dozens of new locations in 2014 and 2015.

See the resources below for more information on the Hobby Lobby lawsuit.

Sources and further reading:

David Green: Christian Companies Can't Bow to Sinful Mandate
USA Today, 12 September 2012

Hobby Lobby Files Appeal in Battle Against Obamacare Contraception Provisions
Fox News, 21 November 2012

Hobby Lobby May Close All 500+ Stores in 41 States
Tom O', 5 September 2013

Hobby Lobby Officials Seek to Dispel Rumors About Stores' Future
MLive Media Group, 8 October 2013

Dem Senators Intervene in Hobby Lobby Case, Urge Justices to Deny Obamacare Exemption
Fox News, 28 January 2014