Hobby Lobby raises starting wage to $18.50

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. announced it will raise its minimum full-time hourly wage to $18.50 beginning Jan. 1.

Founded in 1972, the craft and hobby store chain currently operates 956 U.S. retail stores including outlets in the Quad Cities in Moline and Davenport as well as Iowa stores in Clinton, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Coralville.

The Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby said that in 2009 it was one of the first retailers to establish a nationwide minimum hourly wage well above the federal minimum wage. 

It also raised its minimum wage 12 times over the last 13 years, according to a company news release. In 2014, the retailer raised its full-time minimum hourly wage to $15, well before it became a trend with other retailers, the company said.

“We have a long track record of taking care of our employees,” Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green said in a statement released Tuesday. “In 1998, we made the decision to close our stores on Sundays, and at 8 p.m. the rest of the week, to provide employees time for rest, family, and worship. We’ve also worked hard over the years to provide the best pay and benefits in retail, which has allowed us to attract and retain an outstanding group of associates to serve our devoted customers.”

“We are thankful for our success as a company and thrilled to begin the new year by sharing that success with thousands of our employees,” Mr. Green said.

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