Harps Food Stores announces retirement of longtime executive

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 616 views 

Jim Antz

Springdale-based grocery chain Harps Food Stores Inc. said Wednesday (Feb. 7) that chief financial officer Jim Antz is retired. His final day of work was Jan. 26, ending his employment of 37 years.

Harps appointed Antz to senior vice president of finance and CFO on Jan. 3, 2022. A New York native, he started with the company in April 1987 as management information systems (MIS) director. The company promoted him to vice president of information systems in 1998 and vice president of finance and administration in 2000.

Antz has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a board member of the Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association and Samaritan Community Center.

In corresponding personnel moves, Harps appointed Debbie Creek, its new vice president of finance, and John Taylor, its new vice president of information systems.

“I am always saddened to lose both a good friend and a great contributor such as Jim Antz, but I am encouraged to know that we have developed a bench within our company of talented people who understand and embrace our culture and who have prepared themselves for this moment,” chief executive and chairman Kim Eskew said. “Both of these individuals have done that, and while I will miss Jim, I am confident that he left us in good hands with both John on the information systems side and Debbie on the financial side of his considerable knowledge of both areas.”

Creek joined Harps in 2006 as controller and helped oversee day-to-day financial operations during the company’s growth from 52 stores to 149. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas and an MBA from John Brown University. She is a licensed CPA and a certified fraud examiner.

Creek is a member of the Springdale Public Schools School Board. She expressed gratitude for her 18 years of mentorship under Antz.

“I am honored that I got to work with Jim Antz as my boss, mentor, and friend,” she said.

Taylor began working for Harps as a high school student sacking groceries in 1992. After graduating from Springdale High School in 1994, he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer systems engineering from the University of Arkansas in December 1998. Joining Harps again in 2001, he climbed the ranks from programmer/analyst to director of information systems in 2012.

“I am so thankful to work for such a great company,” he said. “I look forward to taking on this new role and responsibilities.”

Founded by Harvard and Floy Harp in Springdale in 1930, Harps Food Stores is one of the state’s largest employee-owned companies with over 7,200 employees. It operates 149 stores throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kansas.