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Founders, Carpentree, Inc., in 1976, an inspirational art company with more than 400 products, 50 employees
Many awards: 2001 Iggy Award, Wall Décor; Visionary Industry Pioneer Award; 2000, 1997, and 1994 CBA Impact Awards
Licensee for many noted artists William Hallmark, Nathan Greene
Bringing Gods message of hope through art was not Dan and Ginnys original vision for their lives. After Dan left the Navy and finished college and the right job didnt materialize, he wanted to find a niche to supplement the familys income. He decided to let his hobby work for him, so he "fell back on woodworking." It was tough at first, and after some struggles, he called out to God. Though he didnt grow up in a strong Christian home, Dan and Ginny both committed their lives to Christ in the early '70s. When he cried out, Dan says he felt the power of God as never before. Peace flooded him. One week later, he went to a Baptist Church and ran up front at the altar call. He still couldnt find work, so he returned to what he knew. Beginning work at home and later a small studio, Dan would carve out images from scrap wood. Ginny, a registered nurse, did artwork on these pieces and took them around to different stores to sell them. God graciously led them to talk to Buddy Harrison, the founder of Harrison House publishers, who was kind and supportive. "He took us to the marketplace," Dan says, and they soon grew out of their home. They began their business on Dec 7, 1976.
During the early years, business was great, but during the '80s, business conditions drastically changed. The oil bust had hit; interest rates were in double digits as high as 21 percent. With about five employees, The Hobsons worked day and night. Dan felt driven to succeed. "I felt this was the mission for me," he says, and he wouldnt quit. However, his partner did. They had a building and property, but they also had lots of debt. They sought help through Christian counselors such as Larry Burkett and attended one of his seminars. They continued to grow the business, but things got worse. Their lowest point came when they had no other options and were near bankruptcy. Dans father asked if Dan believed he was doing what he was supposed to being doing. Dan replied, "I believe Im supposed to do this." "Dont you ever quit. Dont you ever give up," his father said. This was a turning point, and Dan knew what he had to do. He turned down a job offer and renewed his commitment to his company.
Meanwhile Dan put a building up for sale, but there were no takers. The stress and pressure of being $165,000 in debt caused Dan to become physically ill. During the toughest times, God would tell Dan that he needed to have faith because God was going to work it out.
June 1984 Ginny was at home walking down the hallway with a load of laundry. The TV was on. She heard Pat Robertson give a word of knowledge on The 700 Club: "God wants you to know thats Hes with you. He will supply the money." Ginny knew it was for them and started crying and praising God. The Hobsons received a confirmation of this word through a speaker at a local church who repeated what Pat had said, that God would come through for them. Two weeks later to the day, the building sold! A man Dan didnt know had seen the building, walked in, and wrote an escrow check for $10,000. Dan could then pay all of his bills and pay off the bank. With the money left over Dan went to a trade show. God has prospered them ever since. Dan says this turn of events made him mature in the Lord.
Working with Mel Gibson
The Lord had a surprise blessing in store for the Hobsons last year. "This business opportunity humbled us," Dan says. Last August Dan was invited to a screening of Mel Gibsons The Passion of The Christ and had a chance to pursue a licensing agreement with Icon Productions. He went to the studios and saw God move mightily again. Between the invitation and the meeting he had three days to put together a project. "God dropped an image for this project in my heart," Dan says. He talked to his chief designer, who had one day to complete this. As Dan was on his way to the airport, he was able to grab the original design and take it with him to the screening. At the end of the movie, those gathered were asked for ideas on how to show this. Dan was the only one who had something concrete to put into their hands. He was notified in November that the agreement was theirs. The product is out now to coincide with the release of the movie. Carpentrees agreement allows the Hobsons to produce products using all the images of the movie.
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