Hobby Lobby CEO, David Green
In a business culture where the bottom line makes the difference and success is spelled m-o-n-e-y, David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby craft stores is definitely swimming upstream with company wide ethics expectations and upfront faith values. Hobby Lobby Creative Centers, as it is now known, is a corporate retail giant that hosts 335 retail stores across the country and employs around 16,000 people. From modest beginnings to enormous success, Green attributes it all to one thing only, total dependency upon God.
William Cooper & David Green
Hobby Lobby's beginnings date back to 1972 when Green founded a small store that retailed his own manufactured picture frames. Green brought years of retail experience to his company, and the company expanded and grew within just three years of conception. Over the years there have been ups and downs, but through prayer and faith Green has managed to build a model corporation, with now over 1 Billion in sales annually, that stands on integrity and gives God all the glory.
In a recent interview with ChristiaNet.com, David Green shared his faith, his commitment to serving the Lord by serving his customers and employees, and his dedication to running a company that continually demonstrates the integrity of Biblical principles in everything this company does and says. When questioned about his customer service policies, Green replied that customer service was a company wide policy, and it started at the top. "Here at corporate, that's everyone's assignment." Green stated. "In fact, we say that the stores are focused on their customers and should be servants to their customers. Therefore, we at the corporate office see ourselves as servants to the stores."
It is not only servant leadership that gets Green excited about his business. He is also eager to be an excellent example of integrity for his employees to follow. Green told ChristiaNet, "You should not expect something from someone that you are not willing to do yourself. We should set the example of integrity and serving the customer." Green went on to explain, "All the things we do, all our behavior, should let others know that we are living by, and operating in, Biblical principles. Principle and character are the highest quality traits on our list."
Green seems to be determined to have his company be a shining light to the communities Hobby Lobby Creative Centers inhabit, to the staff he employs, and to the customers he so appreciates. He does have a list of high quality traits and he does share at least one of these forty-nine identifiable character quality traits with each of his 16,000 employees. Hobby Lobby Creative Centers have a corporate Chaplain and Bible studies happen daily throughout the corporate complex.
Green carries his Biblical foundation into all aspects of his business. He even pays his employees on the principle of sharing the blessings. "We are more profitable than other stores within this industry. Because of this, we believe that we should pay above average salaries. We examine each specific position and pay according to that position's responsibility," Green said in response to a question about balancing good paying jobs and maintaining a profit.
David Green does not measure success by today's standards of dollar signs; David Green measures success by God's Biblical standards. He told ChristiaNet, "There is no success outside of success with the Lord. True success has to do with eternity and that has to come only from the Lord. And, Green is quick to tell anyone that his success is hinged on prayer. When others question his true motives or his natural business talents, Green states, "It was all because of prayer." Green even had ministers question his inside edge to creating the empire, and to this he responds, "The answer is still the same- prayer. Yes, God did give us some talents, but Who do these talents really belong to? They are God's. We are completely dependent upon Him."
Perhaps most notable to the general public is Green's unwavering devotion to his employees' family time by closing the retail doors as evening approaches. The only billion-dollar company to do so, Hobby Lobby Creative Centers close at 8:00 p.m. "We are also the only company of this size, other than Chic-fil-A, that is closed on Sundays." Green commented, and he has walked away from $100 million in sales that could be generated nation-wide on Sundays, to show the world and his employees where his priorities are.
Another bold step in an industry that seems to scream anything but family values, is Green's gift of encouragement to his employees and customers through the playing of Christian music in all of his stores. "We do that for them [customers] as well as our employees who are there all day, because it is very uplifting to them too." Comments and complaints about the music are handled with great sensitivity, answering each with positive responses and expressions of gratitude. Green says that Christianity is not a faith of hate, but that it is a faith of love, peace, and joy.
David Green told ChristiaNet that he wants to be remembered as one who knows what counts in the light of eternity. "Our organization wants to be remembered as one that knows the difference between temporal and eternal," he said. "Our business is only a means to an end and our end is to try to affect lives for eternity. If we haven't done that, then we are just merely a good person."
David Green and Hobby Lobby Creative Centers have and most likely will continue to affect lives for eternity. Wanting to share the good news of Christ, Green saw that over 200 million copies of the Gospels were distributed to as many homes. Also, this year Hobby Lobby Creative Centers supported a project that has delivered information about salvation and God's Word to over 12.9 million homes. David Green has set a high standard for others to follow by truly living and running his business on Biblical principles.