Joliet Hobby Lobby workers benefit from company’s latest pay hike
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com April 16, 2012 4:52PM
Hobby Lobby announced on Monday that it is hiking the minimum wage it pays employees. Pay for full-time workers increased from $12 an hour to $13 an hour. | Sun-Times Media file photo
Updated: May 18, 2012 9:49AM
JOLIET — News of layoffs and salary cuts have been common during the Great Recession and its aftermath.
But one privately owned company is bucking the trend. Hobby Lobby announced on Monday that it is hiking the minimum wage it pays employees. Pay for full-time workers increased from $12 an hour to $13 an hour. Part-timers got a 50-cent bump from 8.50 to $9 an hour.
“The company is doing well and making lots of money,” said Joliet Hobby Lobby manager Scott George of Channahon.
George worked for Eagle Food Stores for 21 years but had to find a new job when that company went bankrupt. He landed at Hobby Lobby and has been with the Oklahoma City-based company for 10 years.
“I think everyone here is absolutely grateful they work here, in all honesty,” he said. “I know I am.”
George said he likes the fact that the company is closed on Sundays, because it gives him more time with his family and allows employees more time to practice their religious beliefs.
Denise Pesola, an assistant manager who will benefit from the pay hike, said she appreciates how flexible the company is. Pesola of Joliet has three kids and she often has to juggle work and family activities.
“They work around your schedule,” she said. “It’s a good company to work for. That’s why I’ve been here 10 years.”
The company’s recent pay hikes and family-oriented philosophy create a stable workforce, Pesola added.
“They know they can’t find anything like this anywhere else,” she said. “We’re happy.”
This is the fourth year in a row the minimum wage for full-time Hobby Lobby employees has increased. And part-timers will earn 75 cents more than the legal minimum wage in Illinois of $8.25 an hour and $1.75 more than the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The Joliet Hobby Lobby is at 1400 N. Larkin Ave. The company — which also includes Hemispheres and Crafts Etc.! — has more than 500 arts and crafts stores in 41 states. The pay increases will affect 15,300 employees nationwide and 628 workers at 31 stores in Illinois.
“Our employees are essential to the continued success of Hobby Lobby stores nationwide,” said company CEO David Green in a news release. “We believe they deserve to be recognized for their commitment to our company.”