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Throughout the course of this pandemic, Americans have watched hundreds of restaurants and shops close down--permanently. With the retail sector facing so many challenges, it seems inevitable that things like pay raises will be on hold indefinitely.

But that's not the case for one business headquartered next door to Arkansas.

Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby is giving its workers a raise. And unlike a one-time bonus, this is permanent. The minimum wage for full-time workers goes up to $17 in October, the company announced this week.

It's further proof that government-mandated minimum wages aren't necessary because the free market allows companies to go above and beyond. Sure, corporations like Target have announced in recent years that its minimum wage would be gradually increased to $15 an hour, but Hobby Lobby did that way back in 2014.

And that's aside from the fact that Hobby Lobby stores close at 8 p.m. so employees can get home at a reasonable hour. Combine that with a guaranteed Sunday off every week, and the store has some sweet perks for workers.

It's not a popular business with everybody because of its religious overtones and a recent Supreme Court victory over birth control policy. But if we went and asked some store employees if they were excited about seeing their pay increased amid a chaotic financial time, they'd probably answer in the affirmative. (People who work there would probably agree with the company's politics, too.)

Chalk it up to another victory for the market--and the workers at the company's more than 900 stores.

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