Hobby Lobby will became the first retailer in the country to raise its minimum full-time hourly wage to $17. The increase takes effect Oct. 1.

The retailer, based in Oklahoma City, has a store in Joplin, 1315 Range Line Road.

In a statement Monday, the company said it was one of the first retailers to establish a nationwide minimum hourly wage above the federal minimum wage and has raised its minimum wages ten times over the last eleven years.

In 2014, Hobby Lobby raised its full-time minimum hourly wage to $15 an hour.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour; the Missouri minimum wage is $9.45 an hour, except for exempted businesses. Missouri voters in 2018 passed a statewide referendum raising the hourly minimum wage each year until it hits $12 in 2023.

“We have always worked hard to be a retail leader when it comes to taking care of our people,” Hobby Lobby founder and CEO, David Green, said in a statement. “From closing our stores on Sundays and at 8 p.m. the rest of the week, to providing some of the best pay and benefits in the retail industry, we are thankful that we are able to share our success with our valued employees and provide time for rest, family and worship."

He added: “Because this year has presented so many challenges to our employees, we are very happy that we are able to provide pay increases to thousands of our associates before the Christmas season."

Hobby Lobby was founded in 1972 and operates 923 retail stores.