What is Employee Ownership

What is Employee Ownership?

We’re Owned By The People Who Work Here

When previous owners, Arnold and Debbie Schouten, were planning their retirement from Lumber Traders, they had two big priorities: the well-being of their employees and the community. They decided the best way forward was to keep jobs local, ensure a consistent supply of building materials, and enhance the financial futures of their team.

In January 2004, Arnold and Debbie Schouten rewarded their dedicated employees by creating the only 100% Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) company headquartered in Port Angeles, essentially selling the company to the employees.

The Schouten’s stated that “The ESOP was the best course of action, protecting the character of the companies, its employees, and its commitment to the local community.”

Both Arnold and Debbie have remained active by continuing their roles as members of the Lumber Traders Board of Directors while fulfilling an advisory role when requested.

What Makes ESOP Special?

  1. Unique & Rare: We’re among just 8,000 fully employee-owned companies in the U.S.
  2. A Driven Team: As both owners and employees, our team members are driven to give their best for every customer, colleague, and for themselves. Here, it’s not just a job; it’s their business.
  3. Local Roots: When you shop with us, you’re buying from your neighbors, friends, and fellow community members.

Being employee-owned means that our local stores are actually owned by members of our community.

How Our ESOP Works:

Our ESOP is a retirement benefit. We fund it entirely; our employees don’t pay a penny. To be part of this:

  • You must be at least 21.
  • Work 1,000 hours from January to June.
  • Continue working 1,000 hours each subsequent year.

The Financial Benefits:

Lumber Traders’ share value is reviewed yearly by an outside expert. Since 2004, our stock value has climbed by an average of 17% each year. This growth means an initial $2,000 stock from 2004 has grown to over $11,000 today. And if an employee has been with us since the start, they would have over $180,000 in their account by 2022 – all at zero cost to them.

Thinking of becoming a part of our team and sharing in the ownership? Visit our Employment Opportunities page.

Note: Past ESOP performance is for reference. It doesn’t predict future outcomes.

Are you a current or former employee-owner with questions about your ESOP account?

Contact our ESOP Trustee for personalized answers specific to your account.

Josh Bergesen – ESOP Trustee