Oklahoma City, OK

The second richest man in Oklahoma City

Luay Rahil

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You can't succeed in retail if you do the following.

  1. Close at 8 p.m. every night.
  2. Close on Sunday.
  3. Pay most of your employees twice the federal minimum wage.
  4. Offer your employees great benefits.
  5. Talk about religion.

According to conventional retail wisdom, David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby, does everything wrong but manages to run a successful retail business. In addition, his unconventional business strategies made him a very wealthy man. Forbes estimates his family wealth to be over $14 billion, making him the second richest person in Oklahoma City.

David Green failed in the seventh grade.

David Green is an entrepreneur and the founder of Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts and crafts stores.

Green grew up in Altus, Oklahoma., a county seat of 20,000 amid ranches and cotton fields. His father was a Christian pastor. His upbringing influenced everything he did. He wasn't a great student and had to repeat the seventh grade. In high school, he joined a work-study program. After school, Green worked at McClellan's general store as a stock boy for 60 cents per hour. At McClellan, he met his wife, Barbara, and fell in love with the retail industry.

He later served in the Air Force Reserve and married Barbara. After getting married, he started to work at TG&Y.

They started their company in their garage with $600.

In 1970, While working as a store manager with a variety store chain TG&Y, David and his wife, Barbara Green, took out a $600 loan to start a small business that made miniature picture frames from their home. Two years later, they opened their first store in Oklahoma City and called it Hobby Lobby.

In 1975, he quit his job at TG&Y and focused on building his brand, Hobby Lobby. By the mid-1980s, they had 12 stores but struggled to make a profit. However, David Green kept working hard and relied on his faith to improve the performance of his stores.

David Green kept growing the company until it reached 986 stores. Today, Hobby Lobby is the largest privately-owned arts-and-crafts retailer in the world, with over 43,000 employees operating in 47 states.

David's faith guides all of his decisions.

David Green operates his company based on Biblical principles, which have come under fire many times.

As a result, Green opted to keep his stores closed on Sundays to allow his employees and customers to worship God. This is a tough decision that costs the company a lot of money. However, Green acknowledges that people come before profit and God before money.

In 2014, Hobby Lobby was involved in a lawsuit for its refusal to offer insurance coverage for certain benefits that it deemed against the company's core values. The supreme court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.

David doesn't accept any credit for his success. He says, "If you have anything or if I have anything, it's because it's been given to us by our Creator. So I have learned to say, 'Look, this is yours, God. It's all yours. I'm going to give it to you."

He donated $500 million to the Museum of the Bible.

In 2017, David Green and his family donated $500 million to the Museum of the Bible. The family remains the museum's main supporter, and according to Forbes, "He is a donor to a group called He Gets Us, a $100 million campaign to promote Jesus and Christianity, which ran two ads during the 2023 Super Bowl game."

If you had David Green's money, how would you spend it?

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