Frank Budwey has been running his family’s grocery business for years and he had planned to cash out and retire. Customers urged him to stay because they wanted a small store with good prices and they’d been shopping at Budwey’s for generations. From the Buffalo News:
“So Budwey came up with the idea to put ownership in the hands of his employees – people with the expert knowledge necessary to keep the store running for generations to come.” Budwey is staying on for another 10 years, retaining just over half of the company’s shares. He’s investing $1 million in the store to get employees off to a solid start. The store’s 33 full-time employees will get the remaining shares, pocketing profits in proportion to the amount of stock each holds. Workers will sell their shares back to the company when they leave, benefitting from any accrued value.”
Budwey’s, like many companies that have transitioned to employee-ownership, is already seeing higher sales, attributed in part to higher morale and increased productivity amongst workers. This trend is supported by research of employee-owned companies across industries.
LEAF and its affiliate The ICA Group work with business owners and workers to make employee ownership a reality through technical support of start-ups and conversions. To read more about how employee ownership benefits workers and consumers, click here.