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PFSbrands Shifts to 100-Percent Employee Ownership

HOLTS SUMMIT, Mo. — The sole shareholders of PFSbrands, Shawn and Julie Burcham, have concluded the sale of 100 percent of the company to its employees through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). PFSbrands is the parent company to the Champs Chicken and Cooper's Express brands.

CEO Shawn Burcham and the company's senior leadership team will remain in their roles.

"I'm really excited to provide every one of our employees with the unique opportunity to earn stock in the company where they work," Burcham said. "We believe the ESOP is the ultimate business structure because it turns employees into employee owners who have a real stake in the outcome of their company's business. The shares we allocate to our employee owners through the ESOP do not require a monetary investment on their part… but of course, the hard work these employees contribute and the results they achieve most certainly influences the value of their shares."

Burcham began exploring the idea of an ESOP five years ago after reading The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack.

"In 2011, we began openly sharing our financial results and business strategies with employees at regular weekly huddles," Burcham said. "The purpose of the huddles is to educate every individual on how they can personally impact the success of the company.  In that way, we began to grow a culture of ownership thinking, which is now thriving here."

Burcham directly credited his employees for the company's growth, which includes nearly doubling revenues over the last three years.

"Under an ESOP structure, shares of company stock are allocated to employee owners each year," said Chief Financial Officer Trevor Monnig. "As the company continues to grow and perform well financially, the enterprise value of the company increases. Accordingly, each employee benefits from the higher price of the shares they own."

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