Stewart's Shops Increases Year-Over-Year Contribution to Its Employee Stock Ownership Plan

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — In these uncertain times, Stewart's Shops employees, referred to as "partners," will be receiving some good news regarding their profit sharing statements this month.

This past December, the convenience store retailer 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 percent of partners' 2019 gross pay, including more than 6.3 percent in dividends.

This success is from the great service the partners provide, increased operating profitability, and returns on outside investments, Stewart's Shop stated.

"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," said Stewart's Shops President Gary Dake. "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."

Partners own more than 40 percent of the company through their ESOP. The program is 100 percent funded by Stewart's Shops 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 the company.

More than 1,000 partners have a balance of more than $100,000, and 88 partners have a balance of more than $1 million. Nearly a third of these millionaires started out as hourly employees, and more than a third are still actively working vs. retired.

ESOP participants also receive paid maternity leave, half-priced YMCA fitness and YMCA child care, as well as "Make Your Own" scholarships which provide $300,000 per year of scholarships to partners’ dependents.

Saratoga Springs-based Stewart's Shops operates more than 335 locations across upstate New York and southern Vermont.