Pizza Shuttle, a restaurant located on Milwaukee's East Side, is adopting an employee ownership model as its founders plan to retire after 37 years.
Mark Gold and Louis Siecinski, who opened Pizza Shuttle in 1986 at 1827 N. Farwell Ave., will pass the business on to its 80 employees, according to a news release Tuesday.
The transition to employee ownership will take place over the next two decades, targeting 50% in 10 years and 80% in 15 to 20 years. Initially, employees will be collectively granted 10% stock in the company, which will be earned through four years of ongoing service at the company. Employees will keep their jobs through the ownership transition.
As part of its succession plan, Pizza Shuttle plans to hire a new president. Jessica Gold, daughter of Mark Gold, will serve as general manager, overseeing day-to-day operations. The restaurant will maintain regular hours of operation.
"Many of our employees have been with us for years – even decades," said Gold in the release. "When I discovered the employee ownership model, I knew this was how I wanted to transition into retirement – empowering my employees to take ownership and benefit from business growth and success."
Having dreamt of owning his own pizzeria since he was young, Gold said the decision to walk away from the business was a difficult one.
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Pizza Shuttle hired New York-based fintech firm Teamshares to oversee the process for transferring ownership to the employees. The company works with small and medium-sized businesses taking the leap from retiring owners to employee-ownership. It assists with issuing employee stock and helps employee-owners become financially fluent through software and education, according to the release.
"Pizza Shuttle is an exciting partnership opportunity for us," said Michael Brown, co-founder and CEO of Teamshares. "We have been impressed with Mark and Louis' dedication and passion for the business they grew into a community staple."
The restaurant is looking to grow its base of 80 employees, currently ranging from 16 to 75 years old with an average tenure of seven years. There are open positions across the board, from managers to delivery drivers. Employees will receive stock with dividends in addition to benefits, including competitive industry wages of up to $20 per hour for delivery drivers, flexible full- or part-time day, evening or late-night hours, 401(k) options, and food and beverage discounts.