Supermarket Owner Surprises Employees With Partnership

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (AP) -

Supermarket owner Frank Budwey is giving away the store — and his employees couldn’t be happier.

Budwey, 66, surprised his workers at a mandatory meeting with the news he is bringing them on as partners as he begins to ease into retirement. He said he hopes it’ll ensure that the 90-year-old market begun by his grandmother makes it to 100 and beyond.

“They didn’t know whether the store was closing, being sold or what,” Budwey said. “When I told them they were going to become my partners, they were shocked.”

For now, the 33 full-time employees will split 45 percent of the shares and Budwey will continue at the helm.

“Frank’s giving us the ball. We’ve just got to run with it now,” said Jerry Dumais, who supervises the same meat department where his father worked years ago. “After my father passed away, Frank called me and said, ‘Do you want a job?’ I turned 16, and I’ve been working here ever since.”

“That’s saying a lot for Frank,” he added. “He takes care of his employees.”