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Supermarket owner surprises employees with part ownership

Full-time employees at Budwey's in New York get 45 per cent of their store

The 33 full-time employees of Budwey's, an grocer in North Tonawanda, N.Y., just got a special bonus: Their boss is giving them part ownership of the business.

Frank Budwey said he hopes the move will ensure that the 90-year-old independent store bearing his family name makes it to 100 and beyond.

Under a new corporation, the 33 employees will be given a 45 per cent ownership stake in the company. Some staff will get more shares than others and employees will split the company’s profits based on how much stock they hold. When an employee quits or retires, the company will purchase their shares back, The Buffalo News reported.

Budwey, 66, will remain the majority stakeholder until he retires in the next 10 years and divides his shares among selected employees who he has decided will lead the company.

Budwey surprised the staff with the news at a mandatory meeting Thursday evening.

Beforehand, some employees say they feared Budwey was announcing he planned to close his store or that it was being sold.

Budwey's grandmother opened the original store in 1925.

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