Sam’s Italian Foods was purchased earlier this year by national company Teamshares, which helps companies with retired owners become employee-owned.
BRUNSWICK, Maine – Sam’s Italian Foods, a popular sandwich and pizza shop in southern and central Maine, is the latest business in the state to move toward employee ownership.
Earlier this year, Sam’s was bought by national company Teamshares, which works to support companies in the transition to employee ownership. According to Sam’s new president, John Boyan, the company is now owned by 15% of its employees. Boyan says this will only continue to grow.
“Sam’s is really starting this process, especially in this industry, of being an employee-owned business,” Boyan said. “What it really means to our employees is that they all have shares in Sam’s Italian Food.”
According to Boyan, Sam’s now has 67 proprietary employees who have now received their initial stock grants. Boyan says overtime, Sam’s is expected to grow to 80% employee ownership.
“They’re slowly gaining a bigger percentage of the business and what’s great is that they don’t have to pay money for additional shares,” Boyan said. “They only earn more from the company by serving the company just by doing their job and taking care of the customers.”
“Their shares are worth between $ 3,000 and $ 5,000 per employee and they basically get to charge the value of those shares at a future date,” Boyan added.
Employees will also earn dividend income.
“It’s not just that I come to work every day, I have contributions to the company. I know that the decisions I make help drive the way the business works,” said Stephanie Law, Sam’s managing director.
Law says he has been working at Sam’s since high school. She is excited to continue with the business and watch it grow.
“It’s the best way to make sure things stay the way they are and are locally owned. An Italian ham will continue to be Italian ham,” Law said.
Sam’s has 13 locations throughout Maine.
The company is also hiring and hopes employee ownership can help attract new staff.
“It’s definitely a unique opportunity for the brand, so I’d like to think it will continue to incorporate people,” said Tyler Eaton, Sam’s chief operating officer.
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