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Don Harp dies

By: 15 January 2011 5 Comments

Harps in Benton, Ark.

The word got out on Facebook earlier today that Don Harp, the oldest son of the founders of Springdale-based Harps Food Stores, died this morning.

Those reports were confirmed this afternoon. Harp ran the company from the late 1960s until 1994 when his brother, Gerald, took over as president. In 2000, current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Roger Collins, took over as president. In 2001, the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan purchased all remaining shares of stock in the grocery store chain from the Harp family and managers, making the store completely owned by employees.

Harps was started in Springdale in 1930 by Harvard and Floy Harp. The business became a chain in 1964 when another store was opened in Springdale. There are 64 Harps stores operating in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

It’s worth mentioning that Harps has grown in face of competition with another northwest Arkansas business that is a major player in grocery store market — Bentonville-based Wal-Mart Stores. A few years ago, University of Arkansas officials confirmed that the success of Harps in the face of competition from Wal-Mart had been the subject of more than a few case studies by companies worried about how to stay in business against the nation’s largest retailer.

Harp’s passing marks the second northwest Arkansas business icon who has died this month. Don Tyson, the man largely credited for turning Springdale-based Tyson Foods into the largest poultry producer in the world, died on Jan. 6

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =


  • Melissa Turner said:

    I work at the Harp’s in Green Forest, AR and for all the employee owners of Harps you will be missed. God Bless You.

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