Stewart's Shops ESOP also earned 13-percent growth on employees' existing balance, as long as they did not take any dividends. Great service provided by employees, increased operating profitability and changes in the federal corporate tax law are all factors playing into this double-digit growth, according to Stewart's Shops.
The c-store operator has made a $17-million company contribution to the ESOP, an increase of $6 million over the previous year.
"Stewart's employees are called 'partners,' and they really are, since they own nearly 40 percent of the company through their ESOP. It 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," the company stated.
Stewart's Shops ESOP participants also receive paid maternity leave, half-priced YMCA fitness and day care memberships, as well as "Make Your Own" scholarships, which provide $300,000 per year of scholarships to partners’ dependents.