SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Stewart's Shops employees, referred to as "partners," now own more than 40 percent of the company through profit sharing.
Approximately 2,850 partners received 20 percent growth and a $19 million contribution, which is roughly 19 percent of their 2020 pay, according to 2020 Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) statements.
The ESOP program is 100 percent funded by the company for anyone working at least 1,000 hours a year. After six years in the plan, a partner's balance is usually greater than a year's pay, according to Stewart's Shops.
Currently, 105 partners have a balance of more than $1 million and nearly one-third of these millionaires are actively working. Years of double-digit percentages of pay contributions, in addition to double-digit growth of balances make the ESOP possible.
Mary Lou Saxton, a 29-year employee and manager of the Print Shop, is a millionaire from the ESOP.
"I feel honored to be an owner with Stewart's! I began my career as an hourly employee and moved to managing the Print Shop fairly quickly," she said. "My ESOP continued to grow with me; I am fortunate enough to be able to retire at 60 next year after 30 years with $1 million plus in my account. The stability of Stewart's as a company will ensure that I have a comfortable retirement for the rest of my life."
The sharing between employees and shops allows for more efficiency and creates greater profitability, making large ESOP contributions and generous community donations possible, the company stated.
"We are very grateful to not only be in a position to share with our partners with stable employment, benefits, and a generous ESOP contribution, but to continue sharing with our communities via COVID relief and charitable giving," said Stewart's Shops President Gary Dake. "2020 was an unprecedented year, and we thank our partners for their unwavering dedication."
With locations in 29 New York State counties, Stewart's Shops operates more than 335 c-stores across New York and in southern Vermont.