How More Than 175 People Have Quietly Become Millionaires By Working At A Gas Station & Ice Cream Shop

The good news: they're hiring!

Stewart's Shops storefront a katz / Shutterstock

With all the talk about the housing bubble, stagnant wages, and the incredibly high cost of living in the United States of America, one company rises above the rest in allowing their employees to seize the means of production and really pull themselves up by their bootstraps: Stewart’s Shops.

The northeastern chain of ice cream shops is regularly found at gas stations and has a unique benefits package that allows employees to own a third of the company through stocks. Thanks to this ESOP option, more than 175 employees with the company have become rich from their hard work.


More than 175 Stewart’s Shops employees have become millionaires.

Understanding how it works involves a little bit of knowledge of stocks, but it’s really simple! For any employee that reaches either 500 hours worked in a quarter, or 1000 hours worked in a year (whichever comes first), the option to open an ESOP — which stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan — account is available.

Once that ESOP account is opened, employees — whom they refer to as “Partners” —  will have a vested interest in the company’s success. More success equals more money for the company, and more money for the company means they’ll deposit more investments (100% funded by the company) into the account as time passes.




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“Our employees are called Partners, and they really are, since they own over 40 percent of the company through their ESOP,” Stewart’s Shop revealed in a press release in July 2020. “After six years in the plan, a Partner’s balance is usually greater than a year’s pay.”

The money-accruing process that’s happening here is what is referred to as a dividend payout. To put it simply, a dividend payout is your cut of the money that the company made thanks to your investment (which is really money they're investing for you). So the more money you have invested, the more money you stand to gain from the dividends.


“In early July, all eligible Partners received a dividend which totaled 4.5% of their 2019 ending ESOP balance. This $50M dividend is given to Partners for their hard work and dedication,” their press release read. “Partners had the option to roll their dividend into their existing ESOP account or take a cash distribution. There are now 90 Stewart’s Partners with a balance exceeding $1,000,000.” That was just in 2020, the number has now reached over 175.

There’s an incentive to reinvest your dividends, and that’s so your next dividend comes out to even more money, but you can likely cash out at any time — it’s dependent on the terms that Stewart’s Shops have set in their Partners’ ESOPs.

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The Stewart’s Shops system is a good example of socialism.

Socialism, in the simplest terms, is a system in which the workers have ownership over the product that they’re producing. If you’ve heard the phrase “seize the means of production,” you’ve hit BINGO. At Stewart’s Shops, Partners own over 40% of the company and are able to make money off of their own hard work in addition to the base pay that they receive.


“Even in these times, we have stayed the course; outside of our hardworking Partners, our stability has been our largest asset,” Stewart’s Shop president Gary Dake said. “Our ESOP plan is the best way to reward our Partners for their commitment and hard work which have been imperative to our stability and long-term success.”

The truth is, socialism can create more millionaires, as political commentator, John Russell, stated in a TikTok



The reason the Stewart’s system works is because they haven’t publicly traded their stock and have kept it private. Not just privately owned by the Dake family themselves, but their Partners.


Thanks to the success of Stewart’s Shops, there are nearly 200 ice cream shop employees that can call themselves millionaires.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.