When the owner of Dansko, a Philadelphia, Pa.-based shoe company, decided it was time to sell, he didn't go looking for a buyer. Instead, he sold the company to his employees.
Through something called an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Dansko is now a 100 percent-ESOP company. And that makes Dansko founder Peter Kjellerup very happy.
"It's about the community, and sharing the wealth we create to build a community," he told CNBC.com. "And that builds on an opportunity for people to grow."
According to Michael Keeling, president of ESOP Association, the number of 100 percent-owned ESOPs have grown significantly in the past two years.
Ken Baker, CEO of New Age Industries, whose company is 30 percent owned by employees, says "It's a way for shared capitalism. Management and employees work together to share the wealth in the organization."
And Kyle Culberson, a Dansko employee, tells CNBC.com that being an owner in the company you work for makes a real difference in your attitude. "Once employees realize they have a stake in how well the company performs, it matters to them. It gives you an extra boost to do your job, and do it well."
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