Harps Grows Amid Market Turmoil

by Jamie Walden  on Monday, May. 25, 2009 12:00 am  

Harps Chairman and CEO Roger Collins, left, Chief Financial Officer Jim Antz and Vice President of Human Resources Frank Ray anticipate building three or four new stores per year.

To qualify for the Employee Stock Ownership Plan, an employee must have worked for Harps for 12 consecutive months, be 21 or older and have worked at least 1,000 hours.

Collins said the program had attracted better employees and benefited the bottom line by reducing turnover and theft.

The shares, which are evaluated by an investment bank every year, vest over a seven-year period.

In the company's fiscal 2008, employees were given a portion of stock that was equal to about 20 percent of their salary. Collins expects Harps to allocate about 8 percent in 2009. Harps has about 2,400 employees in Arkansas.

"It's converting a person from being just an employee to being an owner in the company," Collins said. "And the goal is to have a company where the stockers and checkers and everybody look at it as being their store and they are the owner of that store. So to the extent that you have a stocker or checker who treats you like they're an owner, we think that's a real competitive advantage for us."



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