Joe Lueken

Grocer Gives Ownership Of His Stores To His Employees For Free

Joe Lueken, the antithesis of the Anti-Walmart, American business owner has given his 400 employees something to be very happy about. Instead of selling two of his Lueken’s Village Foods stores in Minnesota to massive grocery corporations he decided to give ownership of the stores to his employees without asking them for anything in return. The tranfer is part of the Lueken Employee Stock Ownership Program and will pay off Luenken and his family over three to five years according to a report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Each employee will receive shares based on his length of service and salary.

Lueken told the Star Tribune:

“My employees are largely responsible for any success I’ve had, and they deserve to get some of the benefits of that. You can’t always take. You also have to give back.

Luken’s son Jeff told the Star Tribune that after he informed his father, along with his brother, that they were not interested in taking over the family stores. He said:

“We could have hired a gunslinger from Minneapolis, but that didn’t sit well because the reward wouldn’t go to the proper people.”

Luenken is retiring to travel the world with his wife after learning that hehad Parkinson’s disease. Lueken has been in the business for 46 years.

In another feel good part of the story, Lueken announced last week that Brent Sicard, who started in a janitor job at Lueken’s in 1998 and worked his way up to a top management position, will take over as the company’s president and chief executive officer.

Sicard said of Lueken:

“Joe would arrive at 3:30 every morning. No one could outstock Joe. No one could outwalk Joe. No one can outthink Joe. He can walk through a $2 million warehouse and tell you within a few thousand dollars how much is in there.”

Do you think Joe Lueken is the Anti-Walmart?