The Shelby Report of the Southwest • OCTOBER 2016
HARPS MISSION STATEMENT
Our mission is to provide the best overall value to our customers, building a reputation for competitive prices, product quality and freshness, friendly service and cleanliness.
Southwest Retailer of the Year: Harps Food Stores Small Towns and Big Odds: Harps Just Keeps on Growing What is today known as Harps Food Stores was founded in 1930 by Harvard and Floy Harp in Springdale, Arkansas. Harvard had saved $500 while he was working in the citrus industry in California. That was the seed money for Harps Cash Grocery. For 34 years, the pair remodeled, expanded and sought out larger spaces so the company could grow.
From left, Don Harp and Harvard Harp. Harvard and his wife, Floy, started the business in 1930 with $500. Harvard and Floy’s oldest son, Don, joined them in the family business by the early 1950s. In 1964, Harps became a chain when it opened a second store in North Springdale. About this time, Don’s brothers, Gerald and Reland, also were involved in managing the company. Don Harp became president in 1968, when his father died, and he continued to guide Harps until 1994. In 1995, Gerald Harp assumed the duties of CEO and presi-
dent after the company purchased Don’s stock. At the same time, the company purchased a 10-store chain. This transaction significantly increased the leverage of Harps. The company then focused on driving down its debt. That has been integral to the company’s growth, and Harps to this day maintains close relationships with its lenders. In 1998, discount chain Wal-Mart began selling groceries in its supercenters. Harps would prove itself more than worthy of battle with the retail colossus. Roger Collins, who now is chairman and CEO, became president of Harps in 2000. The next year, the company completed a buyout with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), purchasing outstanding stock from the family and management. Its wholesaler, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG), helped Harps accomplish the switchover. “AWG has been a great partner, and we’ve enjoyed really a great relationship with them for a lot of years,” Kim Eskew, current president and COO, said. “As far as a wholesaler, I’m not sure there’s a better one than AWG. We’ve had a good relationship with all of their executives and people up and down the line. We feel like they’ve treated us just superbly.” For the next four years, Harps again focused on reducing its debt following the change to an ESOP. After that, Harps really began to grow through acquisition and new store construction. Eskew was named president in 2008. Harps now operates more than 80 stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. A store is under construction in De Soto, Kansas, and will be the first Harps in the state when it opens. It operates several stores in Missouri, including stores
Harps store, 1950s in Anderson, Noel and Joplin, which are located in counties that border Kansas. Eskew said he wouldn’t be surprised to see more Harps stores open in Kansas. The company recently grew again through acquisition when it purchased former Walmart Express stores in Arkansas and Missouri. Harps has grown into the largest employee-owned company headquartered in Arkansas while staying true to its roots and keeping its focus on small towns. With its incredible success against big odds and continued growth on the horizon, Harps is just getting started.
Praise for the CEO
“Roger is a widely respected and visionary leader in the independent supermarket industry. Throughout his career, Roger has served as a passionate advocate who always has an eye on growing and strengthening both Harps and the industry. Known for his honesty, strong work ethic and generosity, I believe some of Roger’s greatest strengths are his ability to build strong relationships and inspire those who work alongside him.” —Peter Larkin, president and CEO, National Grocers Association “You could disagree with Roger and debate and go back and forth and it can be a spirited debate, but after it’s all over, he might say, ‘Hey, you want to go get a bite to eat?’ It’s done. It’s over and there’s no animosity, no hard feelings. You’ve expressed your opinion. He’s expressed his opinion. We don’t always agree, but nobody is slamming their door and pouting for two weeks because it didn’t go their way. Sometimes it will go your way and sometimes it will go his way, but there are no ensuing hard feelings about that discussion. That’s really unique, I think.” —Kim Eskew, president and COO, Harps Food Stores “Roger always speaks well about the rest of us, but I want to tell you my opinion on Roger. Roger is one of the toughest negotiators that you’ve ever met, and I’d say he’s one of the toughest bosses...but he’s also the best leader that I’ve ever worked for. There’s no comparison. I truly believe that if Roger Collins hadn’t been part of Harps from the time he started, we might not still be here. That’s how critical his leadership has been for this company. I think all four of the other guys and anybody else that’s worked closely with him would tell you the same thing. He’s one of the most humble persons you’ll ever be around.” —Harps executive committee member (name withheld by request)
Harps Food Stores Executive Committee members include, front, from left: Jim Antz, VP of finance and administration; Roger Collins, chairman and CEO; and J. Max Van Hoose, VP of store planning; back, from left: Kim Eskew, president and COO; Mike Thurow, VP of store systems; and Frank Ray, VP of human resources. “I have been extremely fortunate to have these guys around me because we didn’t get to where we are just on my shoulders. They have made a great contribution to helping us be where we are. It’s really the people that we have that has made a difference, and I couldn’t handpick five people to be on the executive committee any better than what I have. They all are men of very high character and work ethic and focus.” —Roger Collins, chairman and CEO, Harps Food Stores
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The Shelby Report of the Southwest • OCTOBER 2016
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Southwest Retailer of the Year: Harps Food Stores Winning the Old-Fashioned Way: With Friendliness At Harps Food Stores, success starts with getting the right people on board. Harps has a big objective in mind as it hires new employees. “Our goal is to not just be friendly, not just be the friendliest store in town—we want to be the friendliest retail food company anywhere,” said Frank Ray, VP of HR. “We’ve put a program in place that starts with hiring— questions to ask in the interview, observations to make and tests to take to make sure they have the right attitude and personality to be that friendly person.” Harps uses several avenues to track customer service in the stores. One is mystery shoppers. Another happens during staff meetings each month, when every comment card Harps has received is read. “Sometimes there can be more than 100,” Ray said. “That’s helped get district managers more involved in finding out, ‘what was this complaint all about?’ Another good thing about it is we track our comment cards just on the basis of whether it was a positive comment or a negative, and our score the last three years has been over 80 percent positive comment cards. We’re not perfect, but we try, and something’s helping us get better.” That something also might be a visit from the chairman
Harps also has a program in place called SMILE. Here’s what the acronym stands for: Smile at every person you come in contact with Make a difference with attitude Inquire aggressively Listen and take action End on a positive
S M I L E
and CEO himself, Roger Collins. Employees knew that sometime in July he would be traveling to stores and asking them to recite the mission statement: “Our mission is to provide the best overall value to our customers, building a reputation for competitive prices, product quality and freshness, friendly service and cleanliness.” A computer program randomly selects 21 employees. They could be working in stores in Missouri, Oklahoma or Arkansas. Collins travels to the store, finds the employee and asks him or her to recite the mission statement. Last year, 20 of the 21 were able to say it. The year before, each of the 21 aced it. “We care about that,” Collins said. “If you focus on something, you can do it.” Kim Eskew, president and COO, said, “We really emphasize friendliness, and Roger has really been the one that has championed this. We believe we’ve really improved at that. And that’s a difference-maker for us.” Knowing the mission statement is important during employee reviews as well. Raises depend on knowing it. It is ingrained into each new hire. “Frank’s staff does a good job when we hire for new stores,” said Jim Antz, VP of finance and administration and CFO. “Typically, that’s one of the things they cover during orientation. We usually have an employee meeting right before the store opens, and Roger will ask for volunteers, and just about everybody will volunteer to say it.” In addition, there is a Jumpstart Meeting, an additional orientation for employees who’ve been with the company less than 60 days. “At some point, Roger kind of sneaks it in on them and says, ‘Has anybody heard anything about our mission statement?’ Man, everybody will raise their hands,” Ray said. “Then he says, ‘Well, would anybody like to recite the mission state-
ment?’ Somebody always raises their hand and does it, and he gives them $20.” There is another meeting held each month that any employee interested in improving his or her leadership skills can attend. If an employee wants to learn more about the manager trainee program, for example, he or she is welcomed. Harps employees also are empowered to make things right on the store floor when there are issues. “A lot of times, that’s how we win,” Ray said. In addition, Harps has a reward program in place for store and district managers based on the mystery shoppers. The competition for the friendliest store has made a real impact. Due to the success of these initiatives, Collins said Ray is often asked by organizations such as the National Grocers Association to speak or put together a panel to help other independent grocers groom their employees to provide excellent customer service.
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OCTOBER 2016 • The Shelby Report of the Southwest
Southwest Retailer of the Year: Harps Food Stores What ‘Employee-Owned’ Really Means for Business One of the things that makes Harps unique is that it is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company. That changed occurred in 2001, when the company bought out all of the Harp family members and some management. Since then, Harps employees have seen amazing growth in the stock Harps gives them. The stock price increased from $27.90 per share in 2001 to $297.30 per share at the end of fiscal 2015, a more than tenfold increase. Each year, an evaluation company looks at the company’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and in Harps’ case, the ESOP expense), compares it to that of public companies and then sets a value based on the past year’s numbers and future projections. No one gets a bonus until the company hits the numbers it has given its bank group. The company has never failed to deliver on what it promised its lenders. For 11 years in a row, the stock price has increased. “We have the attitude that we’re going to find a way to be successful,” said Roger Collins, chairman and CEO. “If you look back, over a two-year period we had 26 Walmarts open against us, but we knew that we had to find a way to raise our earnings. We figured out what we had to do to keep the numbers up because failing is not an option.” Employees who have been with the company since 2001 have built significant nest eggs. “We don’t have just a single person that’s reaping the benefits from the success of our company,” said Kim Eskew, president and COO. “It’s the people that are serving you in the store that really benefit from our success. It’s a benefit of working here and doing well.” This year, the company will pay out millions to qualified retiring employees. Tens of millions of dollars reside in the ESOP today. “A big part of our culture—not the only thing, but a big part of it—is our employee ownership,” said J. Max Van Hoose, VP of store planning. “It’s kind of easy to say that we just build stores—that’s what I do—and that’s why we’re successful. But what holds true is that a building really doesn’t have much of a heart or a soul or character or a culture. You can build all the stores you want, but whether it be the leadership of the executive committee or the leadership of the store manager, we’ve got to all have the same mission and goal. This is who we are. This is where our character is. This ultimately is what our culture is, and hopefully that resonates with our customers. Employee ownership means a lot for a lot of our employees, and you’d like to think that’s a big part of the culture. Maybe that’s the magic that you’ve got to capture in the bottle every time as you grow, that you don’t dilute that and mitigate it. But that pill, that magic pill, transfers when you grow.” Mike Thurow, VP of store systems, said that even new employees develop a sense of owner-
ship fairly quickly. Being employee-owned creates a “different sort of atmosphere,” he said. “We’re all friends and think highly of each other, and we’re committed to what we do and to the company—not just an abstract concept,” Thurow said. “All of us have a personal stake in it. Employee ownership is nice because you have stock in the company, but it’s also not letting down somebody you work with and care about.” If someone makes a mistake that costs a significant amount of money, it affects everyone. Even though the company took on a different feel when it made the change from a familyrun business to an ESOP, there still are Harps family members working for the company. Van Hoose is the grandson of founder Harvard Harp. He has now been with the business for 19 years, so when he started it was still operated by his family. Van Hoose was just a few months old when Harvard Harp died in a car accident, so he doesn’t remember his grandfather. “But certainly, I’m proud of the heritage and proud to be a Harp,” Van Hoose said. “But really, the dynamics of the company changed so much after I came on that my role here is really not different than my peers’.” Randall Harp is in the company’s warehouse, and his brother, Greg, manages the biggest Harps store in the company in Mountain Home, Arkansas. “They’re still around, and even though we’re employee-owned and it’s not technically family-run anymore, it still has very much a family feel,” Thurow said. That is despite the growth Harps has experienced. Once a year, the company brings all its managers together at the Holiday Inn & Convention Center in Springdale for two days. In the past, Thurow said he probably knew everyone there. Today, the group has grown to about 500. “But, by and large, people still have a feeling about the company that it’s more than just a job,” Thurow said.
Congratulations to our friends at Harps Food Stores for being named 2016 Southwest Retailer of the Year! We are proud to share in your commitment to quality. Learn More At WESTROCKCOFFEE.COM
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The Shelby Report of the Southwest • OCTOBER 2016
Southwest Retailer of the Year: Harps Food Stores Harps Has Stood Its Ground and the Test of Time Against Walmart What really makes Harps Food Stores unique is its staying power and ability to fight the good fight. Honesty, integrity and straight talk keep the “David” of Northwest Arkansas sharp enough to hold big Bentonville-based Walmart—“Goliath”—at bay. The counties in which the companies are headquartered border each other in Northwest Arkansas. Walmart is “unquestionably” the biggest challenge for Harps, said Kim Eskew, president and COO. He said there is a Walmart location probably within 10 miles of virtually every store Harps operates. Chairman and CEO Roger Collins said Walmart permeates even discussions with vendors. “We ask, ‘how’s that different from what Walmart has? Is it different?’” Collins said. What folks outside of Arkansas may not appreciate is that there is a large faction that loves, really loves, Walmart. “Walmart is hometown, and Arkansas is a relatively poor, rural state,” Eskew said. “We don’t have a lot of things to hang our hats on, that we’re known for. When a citizen of Arkansas or an institution in Arkansas does well nationally or internationally, the people in Arkansas take a certain amount of pride in that. Walmart—the world’s largest company and the world’s largest retailer—there are a lot of people in Arkansas that are kind of proud of that, especially in Northwest Arkansas. It started right here.” Many of the residents in that corner of the state knew Sam Walton personally. Stories about him abound. “I always tell folks the Walmart that we compete against is an entirely different thing than someone in some other state competes against, because they are hometown and they contribute almost incomprehensible amounts of money to causes and charities in the state of Arkansas,” Eskew said. “I mean, it’s money that we couldn’t contribute in a hundred years.” For example, in May this year, Walmart and its Walmart Foundation announced an $8 million donation to Arkansas Children’s Northwest hospital. In August, on a “Day of Giving,” Walmart donated more than $1 million to a dozen nonprofits in Arkansas. That’s all on top of the Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art, founded by Sam Walton’s daughter, Alice Walton, who donated more than $300 million for it. It opened in 2011, and admission is free. She also helped establish the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, where the terminal is named for her. That’s just a sampling of the wealth Walmart and the Walton family have showered on Northwest Arkansas. “I mean, it’s pervasive, and so that creates a different environment,” Eskew said. “You know, a lot of people attack Walmart in other areas for not contributing to the community. But where we live, their contributions are enormous.” But even in Arkansas, there are pockets where Walmart’s sheer size and dominance make it unpopular. Executives tend to be featured in area publications, in something akin to old-fashioned “society pages.” Some folks resent that. “I think that’s inevitable, when you’re big and you’re successful and so forth, there are some folks that don’t like that and they rally around the smaller guy,” Eskew said. Harps has had great success, especially since 2001, when it became an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) company. Its stock has increased tenfold despite battling what is arguably the toughest competitor in
the grocery industry today. “We would never in our wildest imagination have projected that from the get-go. Although we thought we would do well, we would not have thought we would have done that well, or that we would have Walmart expanding and putting stores all around us. We kind of like to think—and this was our strategy—that the more successful one of our locations becomes, the more likely Walmart is to build a store very near that store.”
J. Max Van Hoose, VP of store planning, agrees that relationships with other independent operators make a difference. “If an opportunity arises, they just might visit with you about that,” he said. “There’s not always a fit, but at least you can have a dialogue. And those things come about fairly quickly.” While good relations with other independents have helped Harps grow, this year it took a sizeable leap forward when it
“I personally have been calling on Harps for the last 26 years, and they continue to grow, continue to do the right things, they keep their stores clean and up to date and they do a fantastic job. They are probably one of the best organized member groups that Associated Wholesale Grocers has. They compete head-to-head with Walmart at every store. They do what nobody else has really been able to do, and they do it very well. Their profit shares keep growing, and it’s amazing what they do to give back to their employees. They figured out how to do that, and they were very successful at it. They’re one of the best there is.” —Ed Addington, Cruise Marketing
And the Walmart stores in Northwest Arkansas, close to the home office, are the best-kept in the U.S. “I’ve been in Walmarts in other parts of the country that you walk in and you’re just thinking, ‘Holy cow. I can’t believe the out-ofstocks here.’ But you will never see that here,” Eskew said. Harps has done so well against the retail giant that it has become the go-to advisor when other grocers across the country suddenly find themselves in competition with the behemoth. “It’s common that we have retailers that are just now getting inundated with Walmarts contact us, wanting to know, ‘OK, it’s coming. How did y’all survive it?’” said Layne Chastain, director of meat and seafood operations. “That’s pretty regular. People calling us, wanting to know our strategy, how did we survive it.” Eskew said there are two things he would tell independent grocers who find themselves in that situation. “You have to keep your stores updated. Whether that’s Walmart or somebody else, if you let your store deteriorate and you don’t maintain it, update it, remodel it periodically, then—particularly if it’s in a growing area— that becomes an open invitation to somebody to put a store in,” Eskew said. “And if you’re facing Walmart, I think you have to stay focused on what you do best and on who you are. You have to have some things that you’re the best at.” Harps maintains good relations with other independent grocers. If and when it comes time to move on, a lot of families who operate a single store or small chain care deeply about who will be buying their business. “It’s more than just selling their business. It’s family to them, and these people have been with them for many, many years,” Eskew said. “When they sell the store, they want to know that their folks are going to be taken care of. I believe that over time, we’ve developed a reputation that we’re very honest, very ethical. If we tell you something, we’ll do it. And we have taken care of those associates when we’ve acquired a store and we’ve treated them right and we follow through on what we said we would do. So, then, when somebody gets ready to sell their stores, I think because of that reputation, we’re usually on the list of people that they contact, and that’s been an avenue of growth for us.”
purchased nine locations from its nemesis. Eskew has been known to say that small towns are the company’s “sweet spot.” Walmart had found some of those spots, too. In January, Walmart said it would close 154 locations, most of them “Express” stores. Harps was competing against some of those stores. In other places, grocers had gone out of business when Walmart opened the store that it now would be closing, leaving small towns like Gravette, Arkansas, with no grocery store at all. “The day of, I called Walmart and said, ‘Hey, what’s the story here?’ Those things sometimes you can’t predict,” Van Hoose said. “It provided a lot of opportunities. They sold the stores and all the assets, so there was grocery store equipment in all of these stores. A year ago, we had no idea that was an opportunity.” Van Hoose said Harps determined that the larger the portfolio of stores it proposed purchasing from Walmart, the better. Four of the nine stores it purchased have reopened under the Harps banner. The Gravette location opened Aug 3. The other three that now operate as Harps stores are located in Cedarville, Arkansas, and Seligman and Anderson, Missouri.
A former Walmart location in Cedarville, Arkansas, is transformed into a Harps.
The Cedarville store opened on Sept. 7. It is the company’s 83rd store. In addition to groceries, fresh produce and its signature fresh-cut meats, the Cedarville location has a fuel station. The other five stores Harps purchased from Walmart are located in Noel, Missouri, and Gentry, Prairie Grove, Charleston and Mansfield, Arkansas. In Gentry, Harps had purchased a 30,000s.f. space and was remodeling and converting it into a conventional Harps store. That store will open on Sept. 21 (after press time), so Harps didn’t reopen the former Walmart store. In Prairie Grove, Harps recently completed a more than $1 million remodel at its 319 East Buchanan Street location, so it didn’t reopen the Walmart Express there, either. In Noel, Missouri, Harps was in the process of finalizing plans to remodel its store at 210 West Main Street. Work should be complete in early fall. The Walmart Express there did not reopen. Harps has not said what it would do with the Charleston and Mansfield, Arkansas, locations. When Harps builds a new store, the process can take 18 months from site selection to opening, said Van Hoose. “Some projects can take multiple years, so if you have a pipeline and if you want to add, let’s randomly say five or six stores a year, you have to be ahead of the curve and you have to be thinking about the next two years out,” he said. Harps has a store under construction in De Soto, Kansas, but the company isn’t necessarily looking to expand to other states. “For whatever reason, we just never ended up with a store in Kansas,” Van Hoose said. “But we’re literally an hour from the Kansas border. You could generally say that’s where we operate and where we’ll probably continue to look for opportunities.” About a decade ago, Harps began building smaller stores than the 60,000-s.f. locations it previously opened. “We tried to pick locations that were convenient for shoppers—easy in, easy out,” Eskew said. “We emphasized our assortment, that the products we put in there would meet probably the vast majority of your needs, even though it’s a smaller store. We focused on being as competitive with Walmart as we possibly could be on price. We know we can’t match them on price, but we try to be as close to them on price as we can. And we try to offer better perishables departments than they do. That’s what we emphasize.”
Harps also has branched out with a new format. In April, it introduced a value concept, with offerings at cost-plus10-percent. The first 10Box is located at 380 Harkrider Street in Conway, Arkansas, in a former Price Cutter. It is a concept with legs. Look for Harps to open another one or two over the next year. Within the 18 months or so, the company will open about 15 new locations, including replacements and conversions to the new format. By the end of this year, Harps will operate 85 stores. By the end of 2017, it will be approaching 90 locations.
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The Shelby Report of the Southwest • OCTOBER 2016
Southwest Retailer of the Year: Harps Food Stores Harps Steps in to Help Establish Mini Meals Program for Middle School Students The Samaritan Community Center (SCC) distributes food for children through its “SnackPacks for Kids” program. Since 2005, it has been providing a grocery bag filled with eight to 10 snack food items to elementary school children identified as at-risk for hunger or food insecurity on the weekends. It served more than 6,500 children in 95 schools, Head Start centers and early education centers in Northwest Arkansas for several years, commemorating in 2014 its one millionth snackpack. But the center was concerned for students who aged out of the program into middle school. In 2013, Harps Food Stores Chairman and CEO Roger Collins asked what he could do to help the organization. “I was surprised to learn of the number of children in our area who were part of the free and reduced lunch program and who might not have access to food over the weekends,” Collins said. “With the affluence of our area, it was inconceivable for us to be surrounded by so many people challenged for food.” Harps helped the SCC establish a program for middle schools, beginning in Springdale and then later in all of Northwest Arkansas. In less than six months, a program SCC thought was a decade away became a reality. The Middle School Mini Meals program ensures reliable access to meals on the weekends for students at risk of hunger. They include two oatmeal packets, two dried fruit packets, two soy butter packets, whole wheat spaghetti and
Harps Food Stores Values Passionate People—Our associates are part of our family, and they drive our success. We promise our associates a culture that values character, fairness, empowerment, loyalty and equitable pay in exchange for passionate customer service. Devoted Customers—We are obsessed with providing value to our customers, and a shopping experience so satisfying that no competitor is an acceptable alternative. Vendor Partners—We value our relationships with vendors. We are successful together when we exceed our customer’s expectations. Invested Owners—As 100 percent employeeowners, we are invested in Harps, and individu-
Harps employees help pack Mini Meals as part of a program to ensure middle school students at risk of hunger have access to meals on the weekends. spaghetti sauce and a rice/vegetable meal specifically formulated for Mini Meals. “I am thrilled that Harps could lead the way for this new program,” Collins said. “Our over 4,000 Harps employees feel great about giving to those in need and making a difference in our communities. An employeeowned company like Harps requires teamwork to be successful and so do our communities. I am glad that Harps can play a role in making Northwest Arkansas better.” ally commit to execute our mission and values in order to increase both our stock price and customer devotion.
Strong Communities—We value the communities in which we live and serve, and will volunteer our time and financial assistance to make them successful. We pledge to improve our use of energy, protect our natural resources and preserve our environment. Uncompromising Ethics—There is a right way to seek to accomplish our mission. We will not compromise our integrity or our commitment to do the right thing in our efforts to succeed.
NGA Foundation Awards Roger Collins Scholarships Established in 2015, the Roger Collins Scholarship was created under the auspices of the National Grocers Association (NGA) Foundation to recognize students who have shown passion for the independent supermarket industry and exemplify integrity and leadership. Roger Collins, chairman and CEO of Harps Food Stores, 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. He started with Harps in 1986 as VP of finance and CFO. He was promoted to EVP in 1995 and appointed president and CEO of the company in 2000. He has served on both the boards and executive committees of the NGA, the National Cooperative Bank and Associated Wholesale Grocers. In 2015, NGA awarded Collins the Tom Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award. Collins serves on the boards of the Endeavor Foundation, Ozark Guidance Center and Fellowship Bible Church. This year’s Roger Collins Scholarship winner is Michael Navarro. Navarro is a rising senior at Arizona State University, double majoring in business entrepreneurship and food industry management and minoring in nutrition. Described as driven and Michael Navarro motivated by his professor, Navarro is known for raising the bar in the classroom and in his community. Navarro currently works as a manager at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex, and has acquired a second job over the summer at Sprouts Farmer’s Market as a produce clerk to increase his understanding of how food retail businesses operate. Last year’s winner was Clayton Spencer, who attended the University of Utah, pursuing a degree in finance and accounting. Spencer’s career in the independent supermarket industry began in 2012 at Reams Springville Market, where he started as a bookkeeper, and is currently still employed as a corporate assistant and bookkeeping supervisor. Spencer is described by his supervisor as a driven individual who exemplifies integrity and honesty. Clayton Spencer
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