WALKER, Mich. (WZZM) - When many employers are laying off staff and cutting salaries, one company is giving workers a raise.
The minimum full time wage at Hobby Lobby Arts and Craft stores is now $11 per hour, a $1 increase.
"They just want to treat us well," says employee Ashley Neeley. "They did well last year and want to give it back to employees."
The owner of the 441 Hobby Lobby stores says he is giving the raises to thank workers. The year before he gave 50 cent hourly increases.
"In this economy you have no idea how good it is, especially in Michigan, to work for a company like this," says Neeley.
"I think it's really great, " says Hobby Lobby shopper John Crowley. "I had a boss who gave me a raise once just out of the blue. "It made me feel really great."
Calvin College assistant business professor Peter Snyder says rewarding employees can be an effective long term growth plan for a company.
"You are able to retain good people and get people excited about the organization," he says. "Go that extra mile and provide that extra service for the customer."
Some shoppers say they do think customer service is better at Hobby Lobby. So they keep coming back.
"I've never had anything but good experiences," says shopper Laura Brown. "Courteous and helpful."
"You don't want to be a customer where employees are mad," says shopper Alisha Williams. "Here if feels like everyone is more personal."
Hobby Lobby is a privately held company, so profit totals are not available.
"It's impossible to know what's going on," says Professor Snyder. "I think if you look at organizations privately held that don't have to cater to Wall Street you will find more companies that do this behavior. It's not so crazy, actually."