Controversial Hobby Lobby is opening a Burbank store in a few weeks. The giant retailer is renovating the site of the recently closed Orchard Supply Hardware at 641 North Victory Boulevard. The family owner company has more than 500 stores nationwide and claims to offer more than 60-thousand crafting and home decor products. Also, Hobby Lobby admits to mingling the religious beliefs of the co-founders, David and Barbara Green, with its business practices A decision that has resulted in the company bringing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court and facing the scrutiny of several media outlets.
U.S. Supreme Court case:
Hobby Lobby wants the high court to allow it to opt out of providing its employees with health benefits for certain birth control methods as required under Obamacare. The Oklahoma-based chain owners are arguing for an exemption because of their faith. The Green family members are devote Southern Baptists. The Greens are against providing drugs or devices they say have the potential to terminate life after conception. They’re talking about the IUD and emergency conception like Plan B.
Yet, there is a degree of hypocrisy in Hobby Lobby’s position. Earlier this month, Mother Jones reported “Hobby Lobby’s 401(k) employee retirement plan holds $73 million in mutual funds that invest in multiple pharmaceutical companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and abortion-inducing medications.” The story was picked up by The Huffington Post and The Washington Post . So far, Hobby Lobby has not responded to these reports about the apparent contradiction.
Bible curriculum for students:
Meanwhile Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, is promoting a Bible course he developed for public schools. Recently, the school board in Mustang, Oklahoma agreed to test for one year Green’s Bible curriculum. Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative, says the goal is to get the Bible program into “thousands” of high schools by 2017.
“We feel that we can bring a very unique shopping experience to the area,” Hobby Lobby spokesman, Vincent Parker, is quoted as saying in a Burbank Leader article. “We are looking forward to becoming part of the community.”
“It provides a Michael’s-like store but with added features that Michael’s doesn’t offer. It should be a good complement to the city,” Joy Forbes, community development director for Burbank, said in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.
Hobby Lobby reportedly plans to fill 35-40 positions locally. The Burbank store is scheduled to open in June.