After 28 years of operating one of the top-rated hotel and restaurant companies in the South, the founders of Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels (QW) announced that it is now 100% owned by its 600+ staff members. This makes QW one of only a few employee-owned restaurant and hotel companies in the entire country.
Dennis and Nancy King Quaintance will continue to lead the company. Guests will not see changes at any of their six places: O.Henry Hotel, Green Valley Grill, Proximity Hotel, Print Works Bistro, and two Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen locations.
According to CEO Dennis Quaintance, “Co-founder Mike Weaver, Nancy and I like to think long term, not just months or years out, but decades ahead. We’ve sold our interest in QW to the QW ESOP Trust because we believe that it’s the optimal way for QW to be owned and managed in the future.”
The QW ESOP Trust seems a natural next step for this community-based, locally owned company. It fits perfectly with QW’s Sustainable Practices Initiative, which considers how company decisions affect current and future generations, as well as their Fairness Doctrine for diversity and inclusion.
The biggest benefit to staff members will be the retirement benefits provided by their participation in the QW ESOP Trust. After one year with the company, staff members age 18 and above who work 20+ hours a week start accruing retirement units. They will be fully vested after just three years.
More than 50 staff members at QW have been with the company more than 10 years. The fact that so many people continue to demonstrate such a high level of professionalism and commitment reinforced the decision to make QW an employee-owned company.
Quaintance says, “With this program, all of us who work here will have even more reasons to take great care of our guests and colleagues. That ought to make QW even healthier and keep it vibrant for decades to come.”
What is an ESOP?
An Employee Stock Ownership Plan is a program that offers a company’s staff members an ownership stake in the company. This sort of ESOP is actually a trust that’s been created to purchase 100% of the equity in the company in order to provide retirement benefits for the company’s staff members.
How does the QW ESOP Trust work?
Over time, eligible staff members will gain participation opportunities with the Trust simply by working with QW and meeting some other reasonable requirements. QW staff members will not invest their own money into the ESOP; they gain participation by working there. For a better understanding of eligibility and other details of the plan, a 25-page Summary Plan Description (SPD) can be made available.
Why did QW establish this ESOP Trust?
Company founders Dennis Quaintance, Nancy King Quaintance, and Mike Weaver transferred their ownership interest in QW to the QW ESOP Trust because:
- They appreciate the people who cause this company called QW to keep the promises implied in QW’s mission statements, and they wanted to provide a retirement benefit program for them, the staff members of QW.
- They wanted to give QW staff members even more reasons to work together as a team to take great care of QW’s guests and their colleagues.
- They realized the ESOP works hand in hand with QW’s Lucky Star program, which exists to recognize and reward those who play their roles in ways that enable QW to keep the promises made in the company’s mission statement.
Does this ESOP change anything?
“Our priorities here at QW will remain the same. In other words, having a sincere intention to be of genuine service to our guests will stay as our company’s highest priority, with a close second priority of being of genuine service to our QW colleagues. Our third-highest priority is to be of genuine service to our owners. Now, via the ESOP, our owners are our staff members, so our second and third priorities are sort of combined!” says Dennis Quaintance.
There will not be any significant operational or leadership changes as a result of this ESOP program.
- QW will continue acting on its fourth and fifth mission-level priorities, which are to treat vendors fairly and to treat the Earth and her People fairly through its Sustainable Practices Initiative and QW Fairness Doctrine.
- The QW ESOP trust now owns the QW operating companies, not any real estate. QW leases its restaurants and it manages the hotels for a fee. That has been the structure all along.
Quick QW History
Quaintance-Weaver operates six businesses. Key events on the QW timeline include:
- 1988: Company founded by Dennis Quaintance, Nancy King Quaintance, and Mike Weaver
- 1989: Lucky 32 opens in Greensboro
- 1998: O.Henry Hotel and Green Valley Grill open in Greensboro
- 2002: Lucky 32 opens in Cary
- 2007: Proximity Hotel and Print Works Bistro open and are the first to receive the US Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Certification for a hotel and restaurant in USA
- 2009: Dennis and Nancy Quaintance, along with Mike Weaver, named national semifinalists for James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurateur award (Oscars of the food world)
- 2011: Dennis Quaintance receives the Citation Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice
- 2016: QW becomes 100% employee owned!