70-year-old Joe Lueken of Bemidji, Minnesota has been running Lueken's Village Foods for the last 46 years. (--Bemidji is about 215 miles northwest of Minneapolis.)
--He owns three grocery stores in Minnesota and North Dakota, and they're all doing fine . . . but Joe is ready to retire and travel the world with his family.
--He's gotten offers from several large supermarket chains that would pay him a lot of money, but he's not selling. Instead, he's going to leave the company to his 400 employees.
--Starting January 1st, Joe will begin transferring ownership of the company through an Employee Stock Ownership Program. The employees will get shares based on how long they've worked for Joe, and how much they earn. And it won't cost them a thing.
--Joe said he wanted to make sure his store's profits stayed in the community . . . instead of going to some corporation running things from far away.