Hobby Lobby has released a statement correcting a viral Internet hoax claiming that the company was closing down all of its stores.
Last week, a widely circulated article from the conservative website US Herald initially claimed that Hobby Lobby was closing down its stores. The Oklahoma-based craft store company, overseen by a devout Christian family, shut down rumors of store closure in a statement released on Saturday.
"Hobby Lobby often hears from concerned customers who have read on social media that the company is closing its doors," stated Hobby Lobby.
"The online article gives the impression that Hobby Lobby founder and CEO, David Green, has decided to shut down all Hobby Lobby stores.
"The good news is that the report is false. Hobby Lobby is not closing stores. In fact, the company is experiencing tremendous growth, opening 50 new stores in 2017 with plans to open more in the following years," continued Hobby Lobby.
"The company looks forward to meeting customers' expectations with super selection and super savings for many years to come."
In a post from July 11, the US Herald site claimed to have an open letter from Hobby Lobby CEO David Green announcing the closure.
According to the Herald's web page, the article was shared approximately 206,000 times on Facebook and Twitter. Eventually, the site added a correction at the bottom.
"According to representatives from Hobby Lobby, the above letter is FALSE and has been circulating around the internet for some time," read the update.
"They are actually in process of opening more stores and are not closing. We apologize for any confusion to our readers and to Hobby Lobby."
Founded in 1972, Hobby Lobby garnered national attention when it sued the Obama Administration over the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' preventive services mandate.
The mandate stated that for-profits had to provide their employees healthcare coverage for all FDA-approved birth control methods, including abortifacients.
At issue were four forms of FDA-approved birth control methods Hobby Lobby argued were abortion-inducing and thus violated their religious objection to abortion.
In 2014, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Hobby Lobby could be exempted from the HHS mandate due in part to being a closely-held family business.
According to Snopes, the fake news about Hobby Lobby's closure appears to stem from 2012, when the HHS mandate was first proposed.
"[The claim is] based on the notion that David Green would shutter the entire chain rather than comply with the federal mandate, even though he neither announced nor threatened such a course of action," noted Snopes.