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What Obamacare mandate? The rapidly expanding Hobby Lobby flexes its muscle

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Amid the politics, an unfriendly news media and the complexities of Obamacare, the Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. have a big announcement. The Oklahoma-based, family-owned arts and crafts retailer soon will open 70 new stores around the nation, bringing the number of retail locations nationwide to 626 - including its first stores ever in Oregon and Vermont.

"The expansion comes amid inaccurate rumors circulating through social media that the company would be closing stores. Hobby Lobby, owned by its founders, David and Barbara Green, and operated according to the family's deeply held religious convictions, has objected to providing certain contraceptive drugs and devices mandated by the Affordable Care Act despite possible government-induced fines, a decision that may be driving the incorrect rumors," the company says in a statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear their case on March 25 and make a decision by June. The company currently has 16,000 full-time employees and 12,000 part-time employees; starting salaries for full timers, incidentally,is "no less" than $14 an hour.

"The Green family is confident that their religious freedom will be protected, and that they will continue to operate Hobby Lobby according to their faith," says Peter Dobelbower, general counsel and Vice President for Hobby Lobby.

"The Greens recognized that they were being forced to either violate their religious beliefs or violate the law. That's a choice no American should have to make. A federal court has already reached the same conclusion, and we look forward to continued protection for the Greens' religious freedom," Mr. Dobelbower adds.

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