Joe Lueken of Minnesota, US, is giving his staff his Village Foods store for free.
The grocer who is planning his retirement firmly believes that his employees are responsible for his success and that they deserve to benefit from that, so he’s handing over the store through an Employee Stock Ownership Programme (ESOP) instead of selling it to bigger buyers.
Through the proramme, 400 employees of Lueken’s Village Foods will become the new owners as of 2013. An ESOP is a stock equity plan where employees can acquire ownership of a company. They form a trust which then purchases shares of the business. Employees then contribute to the trust through agreed payroll deductions.
In the case of Lueken though, he won’t require his employees to pay a cent – giving the business to his employees for free. “You just take all the time, you have to give back,” he says.