Harps Food Stores Inc.

Harps Food Stores Inc. of Springdale is an employee-owned chain of grocery stores. In 1995 the company bought out the interest of longtime president Don Harp, who owned more than half of the grocery chain. The company became 100 percent employee owned after buying out the Harp family and management in 2001.

Since the financial markets imploded in 2008, the company has deployed a mixed strategy of growth through acquisition and construction.

The emphasis of late has shifted to developing its own stores, especially its prototypical 32,000-square-foot model that includes gasoline sales and sizable space commitments to pharmacy merchandise and deli-bakery goods.

Revenue reached $550 million in 2011, a one-year increase of 6.4 percent. And employment has grown by nearly 50 percent, from 2,245 in 2001 to about 3,350 today.

The company has begun expansion again after years of enduring market share erosion, chiefly from Wal-Mart's efforts.

The company became 100 percent employee owned after buying out the Harp family and management in 2001. Since then the per-share value in the employee stock ownership plan has appreciated from $27 to $227, with all employees receiving annual stock allocations.

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