Bemidji business owner to give store to workers

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, September 4, 2012

BEMIDJI — Employees at a Bemidji grocery store have learned that they’ll become owners of the family-owned small business.

Joe Lueken says his employees are the best people to carry on his store’s tradition of value and service.

The 70-year-old told his employees last week that on Jan. 1 Leuken’s Village Foods will begin the process of becoming employee-owned.

Email newsletter signup

Lueken will transition into semi-retirement.

Brent Sicard is the acting president of Lueken’s. He says when he was the overnight janitor, Lueken would come in at 3:30 a.m. to stock shelves.

Jeff Lueken is one of Joe’s sons. He says the children live on the coasts and couldn’t take over the store, and his father didn’t want to sell to an outside group that could cut jobs.