During a time when companies are still trying to recover from the economic recession, WinCo Foods, a leader in the supermarket industry and a majority employee-owned company, is expanding. The supermarket company is expecting to add about 400 jobs in North Texas when it opens its first two Texas supermarkets within the next year.
WinCo Foods began in Boise, Idaho in 1967 and for over 40 years has fostered a tradition of success by focusing on very large stores with a wide selection of national brands at prices below their competition. They now operate 87 stores in seven states (Washington, Idaho, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Arizona), with over 14,000 employees and estimated annual sales of $5.4 billion.
According to Steven L. Goddard, president and CEO of WinCo, the company’s success is largely due to its employee stock option plan (ESOP) established in 1985. Goddard stated, “Once the idea of being owners takes hold, the employees feel differently — they’re more motivated to come to work and look for ways to reduce shrink and other costs.” An ESOP allows employees to establish stock ownership in a company through a qualified defined contribution plan at little or no cost to the worker. Today, WinCo’s employee-owners have seen their ESOP grow at a 21.5% annual compound growth rate.
A study published by Economist Alex Brill, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, revealed that employee-owned companies that have ESOPs have demonstrated higher productivity and increased economic resilience despite economic fluctuations. WinCo foods is an excellent example of the findings in Brill’s study.
Vosco Rash, IT applications administrator in WinCo’s general office said, “As each of us succeeds, we all succeed. We are not just working for a nameless stockholder but for the person next to us. We are a family united by our shared goals to make this the best company.” Rash explains first-hand the culture of ownership that is seen among employee-owned companies across the country, which is one of the reasons the S ESOP structure has been shown to be so successful.
The Company is excited to open its first stores in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. They have several other locations secured and continue to look for other sites connected to future expansion. WinCo Foods is also looking at other states, like Colorado and New Mexico, for possible future expansion.
With already so much progress as an employee-owned company, ESCA has no doubts that WinCo’s newest plan will bring nothing but success for them in the years to come!