The menu-cover and restaurant-supply manufacturer KNG Inc. was owned by the McDonagh family for years — until last month.
CEO Matt McDonagh and his co-owners and family members Robert McDonagh and Julie DeBlieck asked employees to gather in the company’s Nampa parking lot after work, on a Friday in early May. There would be a party with a special announcement.
KNG is a midsize company, with about $12 million in annual sales and 60 employees. Its factory produces menu covers, aprons and uniforms for the restaurant industry.
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“For several years now, the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) has been a minority shareholder in the company,” DeBlieck said. It is now entirely owned by the ESOP, meaning each employee has a share of the company. Equity grows alongside the company, creating a retirement “nest egg” for the employee-owners, Matt McDonagh said.
Matt McDonagh said it was important to give the company to the employees, by selling it to a trust through an ESOP structure. Since making the announcement in early May, McDonagh said he’s been training the staff on what employee-ownership entails and helping to assemble a new board of directors.
“They know that we care about them,” he said. “They were very grateful, and a lot of people (were) coming up and thanking us.”