The REAL Wonderful Life: Retiring grocery store owner GIVES his supermarkets to his 400 employees – after rejecting offers from large chains

  • Joe Lueken, owner of Lueken’s Village Foods, will transfer ownership to his employees on January 1
  • Known in his community for generous spirit and incredible work ethic
  • Story reminiscent of holiday classic ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’

It truly is a wonderful life for the employees of a local Minnesota grocery store.

Retiring owner Joe Lueken, 70, who owns three separate Lueken’s Village Foods, is transferring ownership of his stores to his 400-some employees, at no cost to his workers.

Citing his employees for any success he’s had in his business, the much-loved business owner has brought holiday cheer to his staff.

Mr Lueken, who has run the two Village Foods for more than 45 years, is a beacon in the community of Bemidji, Minnesota, offering aid to anyone he can, and is famous for his generosity.

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He’s financially backed small business owners so they can get up and running, and has funded students’ college educations through scholarship programs. And starting on January 1, he’s leaving his stores to his employees.

The 70-year-old community stalwart told the Minnesota Star-Tribune that he was approached multiple times by large supermarket chains offering to buy his stores from him.

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