Harvard and Floy Harp founded Harps in 1930. They started the first store with $500 in cash that Harvard had saved while working in the citrus industry in California. The first store was Harps Cash Grocery and was located in Springdale, AR. Over the next 34 years they remodeled, expanded, and moved to bigger buildings as their business continued to grow.
By the early 1950’s, Harvard and Floy’s oldest son, Don, had joined them in the business. In 1964 Harps became a small chain when the second store was opened in North Springdale.
By the mid-60’s, two other sons, Gerald and Reland, were involved in making the company a success. Don ran the company from the late 60’s until 1994 when Gerald took over as president. The Company purchased Don’s interest in 1995. Roger Collins, the current Chairman of the Board, became the president in 2000. Kim Eskew became president in 2008. In 2001 the Company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) purchased all the outstanding stock from the Harp family and management; the Company became 100% employee-owned. Since 2001 the employees have seen their stock price go to over six times the original price. Sharing in the success of the company has built excitement among employees.
With 72+ stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, the Company has aggressive growth plans. The Company’s strategy has been to differentiate itself from the competition based on quality, service, and freshness at competitive prices. The Company promotes no solution/no sodium added fresh beef, pork and chicken. With customized cakes, Martha Harp fried chicken, donuts and rolls; the Harps’ name signifies quality. Combining that image with employee-owned service, Harps has become one of the grocery industry’s most recognized independent chains and is a national success story for grocery companies competing against Wal-Mart.
Mr. Collins grew up in West Texas and is a graduate of Rice University with an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and practiced as a CPA in public accounting for four years.
Mr. Collins started with Harps in 1986 as the Vice-President of Finance and CFO. He was promoted to Executive Vice-President in 1995 and President, CEO in 2000. He has served on both the boards and executive committees of the National Cooperative Bank, the National Grocers Association, Associated Wholesale Grocers, as well as the Elder Board for Fellowship Bible Church in Springdale. He has served in the past with Special Olympics, Rape Crisis Center and United Way.
Mr. Eskew joined Harps as a student checker in 1977 in Springdale, Arkansas, while attending the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. After completing his BS degree in Administrative Management in 1980, he held the positions of Grocery Manager, Store Manager, District Manager, Director of Merchandising and Advertising, Vice President of Marketing and Executive Vice President. Kim currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Grocers Association, the Missouri Grocers Association, the Department of Research and Education of the National Grocers Association and Harris Baking Company, a private label bakery in Rogers, Arkansas. Kim and his wife Karen live in Springdale and are members of Cross Church Springdale.
Mr. Antz started with Harps in April 1987 as MIS Director. He was promoted to Vice-President of Information in 1998 and to Vice-President of Finance and Administration in 2000. He has an MBA degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a BSE from the University of Pennsylvania. Jim serves on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association. Jim lives in Springdale with wife, Margaret, and has two sons. He attends Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers.
One of Frank's top priorities is developing potential leaders for store management. He graduated from Arkansas Tech University in 1984, joined Harps as a manager trainee in September of that year and has enjoyed numerous positions en route to his current role. He is a member of the Springdale Rotary Club, serves on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Northwest Arkansas, and Springdale Partners in Education. He resides in Springdale with his wife, Timi, and their three children.
J. Max is a Northwest Arkansas native and graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1991 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. After spending 6 years with Hallmark Greeting Cards and earning his MBA at the University of Kansas, J. Max returned to Arkansas in 1997 to join Harps Food Stores as Director of Construction and Equipment. J.Max has served as President of the Springdale Rotary Club, is currently Vice Chairman of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the University of Arkansas‚Äôs Academy of Industrial Engineers. He lives in Springdale with his wife Kelley and their two daughters, and attends Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers.
Mike received a BA degree from the University of Illinois, and came to Fayetteville in 1979 to attend graduate school at the University of Arkansas. He started to work at the Harp's General Office in 1983 as Scanning Specialist. He was later promoted to Director of Store Systems, and then to Vice-President of Store Systems. Outside of Harp's, Mike is involved with Rogers Little Theater, and also serves on the board of Hope Cancer Resources, a Northwest Arkansas non-profit organization whose mission is to provide service and assistance to local cancer patients. Mike has a son who lives in Little Rock with his wife and children, and a daughter who lives in Northwest Arkansas.