Owner Gives Grocery Store to Employees - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Owner Gives Grocery Store to Employees

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It's a christmas present employees will never forget. It's from the owner of a local grocery store to his employees, a gift that is a too large to wrap. It was 1966 when Lueken's village food opened in Bemidji,Minnesota. 1986, Econofoods in Wahpeton, North Dakota was built. And in 2000, a 2nd Luekens opened in southern Bemidji.

 Today, the one who started it all is still in charge. Joe lueken bought the first store from his brother in '69. And even though things have changed since then, his philosophy has stayed the same "Just do the right thing," says Joe Lueken.

But recently, Joe has decided to make a change himself. At 70, Joe is ready to retire. Major chains offered to buy his business but he said no. Instead he's giving his store to somebody, or should I say some people you may not expect.

"My family thought it would be best for employees to enjoy the success we had over the years," says Lueken. That's right. 400 employees will now become stockholders in the company. "It's good for employees. Good for community."

 And Brent Sicard, who started out as janitor more than ten years ago is now the new president and ceo. For Joe, he'll be handing over his store at the beginning of the year, and knows that this is not the end for him or his company he started years ago, but the beginning.

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