A retiring grocery store owner rejected buyout offers from bigger chains and is turning ownership over to his employees.
Joe Lueken spent 46 years building two successful grocery stores in Bemidji, Minnesota and said he’s received several buyout offers.
But rather than go big, Luekan decided to transfer ownership to his employees through a stock program beginning in January.
His reasoning was simple: Luekan wanted to give back to the people who helped his business be successful.
“My employees are largely responsible for any success I’ve had, and they deserve to get some of the benefits of that,” Lueken told Larry Oakes at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “You can’t always take. You also have to give back.”
Employees don’t have to pay for their shares in the business.
One of Lueken’s employees described the hard work he’s put into the company over the years:
“Joe would arrive at 3:30 every morning,” the employee said. “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.”
Lueken plans to travel and relax with his wife.