Steven Todd Green

Class of 2024

  • President Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

I see success as fulfilling the purpose for which you were called.

Steve Green, the middle of three children, was born in 1963 in Oklahoma City, where he still resides today. His father, David, worked as a supervisor at a variety store chain called TG&Y. In 1970, David Green took out a $600 loan and started a home business in his garage assembling and selling picture frames.

By 1972, the business focused on arts and crafts and was named Hobby Lobby. “From the beginning, our family was very involved in the business,” Green says. “My mother worked alongside my father in getting it established. I began working when I was only seven. I was paid seven cents for each frame I put together. It excited me to have some spending money. I never minded working in the store. In our family, work was just a part of life.”

The Green family embraces its Christian faith and heritage. “Our faith has always been a deep part of all that we do, all the decisions that we make. I was raised with Christian values and a strong belief in hard work, honesty, and integrity. My parents modeled that. My father has always been passionate about his work. I have worked with him for 42 years and it’s been a great experience,” he says.

Once the business was beginning to be profitable, Green’s mother was able to stay home and take care of her children. “My mother is a gentle spirit but very strong,” Green says. “She provided a warm and loving home, and I’m very grateful for the happy childhood my parents gave to me.”

Green enjoyed sports and participated in football, baseball, and track in high school. By then, he had made the decision that as soon as he graduated, he would work full time for Hobby Lobby. “My father dreamed of making the store a nationwide chain, and I wanted to be a part of that,” he says. “We had eight stores when I graduated and I was anxious to contribute to our growth.”

Green began at the bottom and learned how each department operated. Over time, he oversaw the accounting department, warehouse system, and buying systems. He also helped to develop the international importing department and real estate expansion.

Hobby Lobby’s corporate headquarters includes more than 12 million square feet of manufacturing and distribution space, and an office complex in Oklahoma City. Today, there are more than 1,000 Hobby Lobby stores with 46,000 employees operating in 48 states, making it the largest privately owned arts-and-crafts retailer in the world.

In 2004, when he was 41, Green became president of Hobby Lobby. His father, who is still actively involved in the company, is the founder and CEO. His mother, Barbara, is a buyer for the company. His brother, Mart, is the founder of Mardel Stores and currently serves as Ministry Investment Officer for the Green family businesses. His sister, Darsee Lett, is the vice president of Hobby Lobby Art/Creative. “As leaders of a company this large, we try to serve those who work for us,” Green says. “It’s a big responsibility.”

Closing their stores on Sunday was a major decision for the company leadership. “In all we do, we want to honor God,” Green says. “We were making $100 million in sales on Sundays, but we still felt the right thing to do would be to commit to making Sunday a day of rest for our employees. It took us two years to implement, but in the end, it has served us well. Today we are very pleased and excited that we made that decision.”

Tithing is also an important part of the Green family’s faith. “We give half of our profits to our philanthropy, which is very exciting. We want to be a profitable company because the more we make, the more we are able to give and support causes that have a positive impact on lives.”

In 2009, the Green family purchased its first biblical artifact and has since acquired tens of thousands of them, which now comprise the Green Collection. In 2010, the Museum of the Bible, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was established and opened to the public in 2017 in Washington, D.C. Steve Green serves as its founder and chairman of the board. In this capacity, he has assembled a team of academics, designers, technology professionals, and other experts to create the 430,000-square-foot museum dedicated to a scholarly presentation of the Bible’s history and impact. The Green Collection is on loan to the museum, which to date has had more than 2 million visitors.

Green is the author of Faith in America (2011), The Bible in America (2013), and This Beautiful Book (2019), and co-authored with his wife, Jackie, This Dangerous Book (2017). Steve and Jackie Green have been married for 39 years and have a son and five daughters, a daughter-in-law, three sons-in-law, and eight grandchildren. They are active in their local church and support many Christian charities.

While Hobby Lobby has routinely grown each year since its founding, 1985 was a challenging time. “We were in the middle of an economic downturn and for the first time, the company lost money,” Green says. “We owned more money on our house than we could sell it for. It was a dire situation and we didn’t see how we were going to survive. One thing I have learned in business is that you have to adjust with the times. Just because something is successful today, doesn’t mean it will be successful tomorrow. You could be the best covered wagon manufacturer in the world, but people are no longer buying covered wagons. We persevered though the challenge of 1985 and returned to profit in 1986. In the end, we just try to do what is right and that has served us well.”

Green’s faith has directed him in all aspects of his life—in his relationships, in his business, and in his home. When the idea for the Bible Museum emerged, he never envisioned himself getting so involved with the project. “It felt like God was directing me to go down this path,” he says. “It’s been an exciting journey. I believe God has a plan and a purpose for me and for my life. I strive each day to fulfill that purpose as best I can.”

Honored by his Horatio Alger Award, Green says, “I’m very grateful for this recognition. It’s incredible to become a part of this Association.” When asked about his advice for Horatio Alger Scholars, Green says, “My hope for the Scholars is that they take their God-given abilities and pursue their education to the fullest extent. It’s important to always grow in our knowledge and never stop learning. It’s fundamental to all we do.”

For those facing difficult situations, Green says, “When I consider the challenges the Scholars have faced in their young lives, I hope that they understand that challenges are difficult, but it’s how we respond to them that counts. This country provides great opportunities for those who strive to do the right thing and who display good character. I see it as part of the American dream. Hard work, perseverance, integrity, and generosity—these are the building blocks of achieving dreams.”