The owners of A Few Cool Hardware Stores are selling the company to their employees, allowing them to own the company through an Employee Stock Ownership Program.
Gina Schaefer and Marc Friedman operate Silver Spring Ace Hardware at 815 Wayne Ave. and Old Takoma Ace Hardware at 7001 Carroll Ave. in Takoma Park along with 11 other locations in the Washington and Baltimore metro areas.
The ESOP gives employees stake in the company through a stock allocation that accrues value over time, similar to a 401(K) plan. The amount distributed is determined by the number of employees receiving shares and each employee’s individual salaries at no cost to the employee.
As part of an employee-owned company, workers will have a role in making decisions, an investment in the company’s success, and are able to build personal wealth.
“The ESOP model allows us to give back to the employees who have done so much for our company, while still aligning with the culture we’re proud to have built over the last 20 years of business,” said Schaefer in a press release.
Schaefer and Friedman, who founded the company in 2003, transferred 30% of AFCHS into an ESOP trust on Aug. 1. They anticipate transferring the balance over the next several years.