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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Stewart's Shops is making a $10.5 million contribution to its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), an increase of $500,000 over last year. This company contribution equals approximately 15 percent of a Stewart's employee's pay in 2016.
Employees own nearly 40 percent of the company through the ESOP, which is funded 100 percent by the company.
In addition to the contribution, employees are expected to see double-digit growth on their existing ESOP account balance due to an increase in the company’s value. Participants have seen a portion of that growth by receiving two dividends in 2016, totaling about 6 percent of their beginning balance, the company said. ESOP statements will be out in April.
The company credited its growth to the increasing customer demand for easy food and beverage options, the expansion and reinvestment into its shops and the hard work of its employees. In 2016, Stewart's Shops built six new stores, rebuilt 10 existing locations and completed 20 major remodels.
The ESOP is available to anyone who works 1,000 hours a year. The balance should equal approximately one year's pay after six years in the plan. ESOP participants are also offered a paid maternity program, discounted YMCA gym and daycare programs, and a Make Your Own Scholarship program, which provides college scholarships to partners' dependents.
Saratoga Springs-based Stewart's Shops operates more than 330 convenience stores across upstate New York and southern Vermont.