Customers undeterred, supporting Hobby Lobby Post Supreme Court Decision

The Hobby Lobby store on Route 46 West in Totowa.

Customers are not letting a controversial decision by the Supreme Court detract them from shopping at the new Hobby Lobby store on Route 46.

Hobby Lobby was at the center of a firestorm earlier this year when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June that “closely-held corporations” were exempt from providing their employees with certain kinds of pregnancy-preventing health care coverage, including the morning-after pill, for their female employees if a businesses’ owners reject the coverage based on religious convictions. Until the ruling, the coverage had been mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Hobby Lobby’s owners, David and Barbara Green, are Christians. They opened the first Hobby Lobby, a 600-square-foot facility, in Oklahoma in 1972. The chain’s 575 stores are not open Sundays. The 44,000-square foot Totowa store opened July 7. Protestors attended the grand opening. They peppered the staff and customers with the chant of: “One, two, three, four, let’s go shop at A.C. Moore!”

The Greens have made no apologies for their decision to selectively deny women health care coverage.

“We’re Christians and we run our businesses on Christian principles,” David Green said.

There was a constant stream of people in and out of the store one summer afternoon.

“I think its fine if the company wants to provide its workers with certain health-care costs as opposed to others,” said Barbara Finkle as she walked into the store. “The company has a right to provide as little or as much health care as they want to or are required to. If they don’t then upset employees can go work somewhere else.”

Others said that the company’s recent legal entanglements have nothing to do with their desire to shop there.

“To me, it doesn’t matter. They’re prices are good, they have a much better selection than Michael’s, and they’re closer to where I live,” said Lois Smith. “A lot of businesses do things and have unsavory practices and people still go to them so why should it be any different here? If you don’t agree with something a store does, you don’t have to shop there.”

Steven Marks was at the store with his son, Evan. They went there to purchase some construction paper.

“I think what they did was great. We should stand up for what we believe in,” said Marks. “People have a right to protest and believe whatever they want to, just like the people who challenged the store’s policy and that’s fine. But the store wouldn’t have the policy if it wasn’t for the owner’s religious convictions. That’s commendable.”

Krista Collins, a Christian who was at the store with her daughter Makela, said she was happy to support a store whose owners believe the same thing she does.

“I believe that life begins at conception,” Collins said. “It is so great to shop somewhere where you know the people believe in the same thing you do. More Christians should stand up and do what the Greens did.”

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