In these uncertain times, Stewart’s Shops Partners have received some good news regarding their profit sharing statements. Existing ESOP accounts received approximately 17.5% growth on their existing accounts including over 6.3% in dividends. This success is from the great service the Partners provide, increased operating profitability, and returns on outside investments.
In December 2019, the company made a $17.5 million company contribution to the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), an increase over the previous year. This contribution is about 17.5% of the Partners’ 2019 gross pay and statements were given to partners in early April.
Stewart’s Employees are Truly Partners
Stewart’s employees are called Partners, and they really are, since they own over 40 percent of the company through their ESOP. This 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.
There are over 1000 Partners with a balance of over $100,000, and 88 Partners have a balance of over $1 million. Nearly a third of these millionaires started out as hourly employees, and over a third are still actively working versus retired. This is possible because of Stewart’s stability, enabling years of double digit percent of pay contributions, plus double-digit growth of balances each year.
One of the youngest millionaires in the company, Walter Gannon, is only 49 years young and has worked with the company for 29 years, starting as a partner and now a seasoned shop manager. He exclaims, “No one believes me when I tell them that Stewart’s Shops has made me a millionaire. The flexibility and financial freedom to retire at the age of 55 working at Stewart’s is unbelievable, although I love what I do and may just stay longer. I am forever grateful to work for a family and employee owned company that truly cares about their employees.”
“In these times, we are all different with various challenges and this makes sharing our 2019 achievement with our Partners even more significant. As an employee and family owned business, our success would not be possible without the hard work of our Partners and the loyal patronage of our customers. However, with the current uncertain circumstances, we have many challenges ahead of us. We will continue to weather this storm, evolve our business and find new solutions for continued success,” says Stewart’s Shops president Gary Dake.
Stewart’s ESOP participants also receive paid maternity leave, half-priced YMCA fitness and YMCA child care, as well as “Make Your Own” scholarships which provides $300,000 per year of scholarships to Partners dependents. Stewart’s Shops currently has positions available at its shops, plant, and corporate office. We are hiring in our shops, visit the careers page for more information.