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Convenience store wins hearts by making 175 employees millionaires through company stock

The store's goal isn't just profit, it also gives benefits to the employees behind its success.

Convenience store wins hearts by making 175 employees millionaires through company stock
Cover Image Source: YouTube/ Photo by @stewartsshops

Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 25, 2023. It has since been updated.

There has been much debate about the role of employees in a company's success. Many argue that companies should pay their employees fairly rather than rely on tips. Stewart's Shops has embraced this idea and gone further by making 175 employees millionaires through company ownership, as reported by Your Tango. Stewart's Shops focuses on sharing its profits with the employees who drive its success.

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Stewart's Shops, a northeastern chain of ice cream shops, frequently found at gas stations, has developed a unique ownership package. This program allows employees to own one-third of the company, enabling 175 employees to become millionaires through their dedication. To qualify, employees must work 500 hours in a quarter or 1000 hours in a year, after which they can open an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Once employees open their ESOP accounts, they become 'partners' in the company. This fosters a sense of ownership and motivates them to contribute to the company’s success. Increased company revenue leads to higher investments in employees' accounts over time. In a 2020 press release, Stewart's Shops explained, "Our employees are called Partners, and they are since they own over 40 percent of the company through their ESOP, which is 100 percent funded by the company for anyone working at least 1000 hours a year. After six years in the plan, a Partner’s balance is usually greater than a year’s pay. In April, our Partners received 17.5% of their 2019 gross pay into their ESOP."


This system allows employees to earn money through dividend payouts, which are portions of the company's profits shared with investors. The more they invest, the higher their potential earnings. This arrangement has proven beneficial, with the company generating consistent profits and employees earning significant amounts. According to a press release, 90 partners became millionaires in 2019, and this number increased to 175 in 2020.

This incentive is beneficial to employees, especially in such trying times for the US economy. In this plan, the employees are also given the option to reinvest the dividends they have earned. In this way, the next payout will be even more in comparison to the present amount. President of Stewart's Shops, Gary Dake says “Even in these times, we have stayed the course; outside of our hardworking Partners, our stability has been our largest asset. Our ESOP plan is the best way to reward our Partners for their commitment and hard work which have been imperative to our stability and long-term success.”

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