Millionaire Grocery Clerks, Tax-Free Companies Among the Many Possibilities Through Employee Ownership

The ownership and staff at Voodoo Brewing, an employee-owned company in Western Pennsylvania.

From Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership (PCEO)

Millionaire grocery clerks, real retirement savings, tax free companies. Crazy? No…it’s called employee ownership.

What if your employer (or you, as a small business owner) could sell you a percentage of their/your company? What if you paid NOTHING for the shares, but now had real retirement funds? And what if the company became more productive and was exempt from federal and state tax on profits?

This is all possible through an ESOP, an “Employee Stock Ownership Plan.” In 1974, the federal government created a program that allows owners of businesses to sell some or all of their company to their employees. 

The employees pay nothing.  Rather, the business takes on a note (a “mortgage”) that gets paid back over three to five years. 

The owner gets paid full fair market value, and now the employees have a real stake in the company and real retirement savings. Not surprisingly, employee owned companies are much more productive than non-employee owned companies and turnover rates decrease dramatically.

And here’s the best part – an ESOP company’s profits are tax free – forever. The tax savings pay off the mortgage! Yet, very few people know about this.

Pennsylvania has about 300 ESOPs including well known companies such as Sheetz and Wawa, and locally, Columbia Montour Chamber member Larson Design Group.  Read what some CEOs have to say about employee ownership.

At age 19 Cathy Burch took a job at WinCo, a supermarket chain and ESOP company. She worked in various roles – cashier, shelf stocker, inventory orderer, and by the time she was 42, she was a millionaire. At WinCo, her story is not unique. Read more about the millionaire grocery clerks.

To learn more, reach out to Rosalie Evans via email at the nonprofit Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership.

Plan a Trip to Visit a Loved One This Valentine’s Day

From rabbittransit

Love is in the air, so plan a trip to visit a loved one this Valentine’s Day! rabbittransit can provide safe, reliable transportation. Seniors 65 years of age and older are eligible for paratransit, often referred to as “Shared Ride,” which is a door-to-door bus service providing trips that are grouped together between multiple customers. Most Shared Ride destinations are within a rider’s home county. However, rabbittransit also provides regular trips to adjacent counties based on demand. There are no restrictions on the reasons individuals may use rabbittransit services, so the senior Shared Ride program can be used for all kinds of trips such as medical appointments, grocery shopping, beauty salons, banking, recreation, physical therapy, visiting, fitness, adult day care and more.

There may a co-pay each time a rider boards the vehicle. The cost depends on many different factors. Scheduling your own appointments is easy by visiting

Call 1-800-632-9063 today to speak with the mobility planning department to discuss your transportation needs and what you need to do to start using rabbittransit.

Montour Area Recreation Commission Honors Supporters

The Montour Area Recreation Commission (MARC) manages several recreational areas in Montour County and coordinates the Humdinger races in March. The organization relies heavily upon the support of volunteers who work alongside MARC’s staff to maintain the parks and trails. On Wednesday, January 9th, MARC had the opportunity to bring together many of those supporters at the Montour Preserve to thank them for all they do.

10+ year MARC Board member recognitions: (L to R) Mike Mills, Bob Stoudt (Director) and Frank Dombroski

Special honors were presented to Mike Mills and Frank Dombroski for more than ten years of service on MARC’s Board. MARC also recognized Wayne Kashner as its 2018 Volunteer of the Year for his exemplary volunteer service caring for the North Branch Canal Trail.

MARC 2018 Volunteer of the Year Wayne Kashner (right) with Bob Stoudt, Director.

More information about MARC, including the 2018 Annual Report, is available at

Member News – January 16, 2019

Member News

  • A representative from the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center will be at the Chamber office at 238 Market St., Bloomsburg, this Friday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. for its monthly small business outreach day. Any current or aspiring small business owner is welcome to stop in and speak to Ray Haden, business consultant with the Wilkes SBDC, for advice and guidance on starting or running a small business. SBDCs provide free, confidential consulting services to current and aspiring small business owners. Anyone interested in meeting with him should contact Ray at 570-408-4340 or email to schedule a time between 10-3 on Jan. 18 to meet. 


  • The Geisinger Health Foundation recently made a $2,500 charitable gift contribution to Focus Central Pennsylvania, an economic development organization whose mission is to attract and support expansion of capital investment that creates quality career opportunities for the families of a seven-county area in Central Pennsylvania, which includes Columbia and Montour Counties. Focus proactively connects with site location consultants and companies looking to relocate or expand. This gift will support promoting the region for new corporate investment opportunities and creating career opportunities in the Focus Central Pennsylvania region. Geisinger Health invests philanthropic resources into people, programs and services, facilities, education and technologies to help ensure an excellent patient experience for all.


  • Jazz vocalist Charenée Wade will bring her classic jazz sound to the Weis Center for the Performing Arts for a free performance on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium.

    Jazz vocalist Charenée Wade

    Tickets are not required. Known for expert vocal improvisation and her seriously swinging groove, Wade evokes a classic jazz sound akin to Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan, two of her musical touchstones. A singer, composer, arranger and educator, Wade is a professor at the Aaron Copland School at Queens College and was just recently appointed to Peabody Institute. 


  • The St. Olaf Orchestra, featuring Sarah Chang on violin, will perform a free classical music concert on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are not required, and this family-friendly performance is suggest for grades 5 and above. 

    The St. Olaf Orchestra

    Named “one of the best college orchestras in the nation” by Time magazine‘s Richard Ostling, the St. Olaf Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra known for its passionate music-making and professional-level performances. Founded in 1906, the ensemble has been heralded as one of the best collegiate orchestras in the country and was named the winner of the 2013 American Prize for Orchestral Performance among colleges and universities. 

    Violinist Sarah Chang

    Recognized as one of the world’s foremost violinists, Sarah Chang has performed with the most esteemed orchestras, conductors and accompanists in an international career spanning more than two decades. While at the Weis Center, they will perform: Samuel Barber’s Overture to “The School for Scandal,” Missy Mazzoli’s These Worlds In Us, and Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 featuring Sarah Chang on violin. After intermission, they will perform Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64.


  • The Bloomsburg University athletics department will celebrate National Girls & Women in Sports Day on Saturday, Feb. 2 with a couple of opportunities for youth. There will be a free basketball clinic at 10 a.m., followed by a speed and agilities clinic at 10:30 a.m., and an activities fair at 11:15 a.m. There will be free pizza for all participants at noon, followed by free admission to that day’s women’s basketball game at 1 p.m., and a postgame autograph session. This clinic is open to all boys and girls in grades K-8. Register by calling 570-389-3907 or by email. For more information, see the flyer


  • Geisinger HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital recently unveiled its new name and brand as part of its Company’s name change and rebranding initiative. As of Jan. 1, the inpatient rehabilitation hospital is now known as Geisinger Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital. It will continue to provide the same high-quality, post-acute care for patients overcoming a variety of major illnesses and injuries. To commemorate the new name and brand, the hospital will be hosting a open community celebration event on Thursday, Feb. 7, from 3-6 p.m. The event will be held in the hospital dining room, located at 64 Rehab Ln., Danville. Tours and photo booths will be available for event attendees, and hor d’oeuvres will be served. RSVP prior to the event to 510-271-6110 or by email. Birmingham, Ala.-based HealthSouth Corporation launched its new name and brand on Jan. 1, 2018 and has been transitioning its 130 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and 273 home health and hospice locations serving 36 states and Puerto Rico over the last year, which will continue through 2019. All of the Company’s post-acute care service locations in Pennsylvania will migrate to the Encompass Health name and brand on Jan. 1.


  • Beginning the week of Feb. 11 and running through April 4, the United Way of Columbia and Montour County will once again offer free basic tax help to low and moderate-income residents in the community. This program will be held Tuesdays and Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. and Thursdays from 4-8 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, located at 130 W. 3rd St., Bloomsburg (use the rear entrance). No appointments are necessary, only drop-offs and walk-ins will be accepted. For questions, call the United Way at 570-784-3134 or email


  • Knoebels Amusement Resort will hold its annual job fair on Saturday, March 2, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Elysburg Fire Department, located at 1 East Mill St., Elysburg. There are seasonal positions available in games, ride operations, food service, gift shops, grounds crew, security & first aid, admissions, crystal pool, campground, guest services, and more. If you have a particular interest or skill set, Knoebels has a job for you. Visit the Facebook event for more information. 

Berwick Businesses Asked for Input on Signage

The committee for Berwick, The Next Step continues to meet twice a month to enhance the downtown for the benefit of the entire community. The committee is working on a number of recommendations in the Building a Better Berwick report, which is available online. One of the recommendations is updating the Borough’s signage ordinance, to allow businesses to increase their visibility. Business people are being invited to provide input.

The committee is beginning the process of reviewing the ordinance, and will be making recommendations to Council. These updates may include allowing signage that is perpendicular to buildings, awnings, etc. Any changes would have to comply with PennDOT regulations. The Borough’s current signage ordinance is available here

The committee is seeking input from businesses. Business people in the Borough are invited to provide their input through a brief online survey by Friday, Jan. 18.