After announcing his impending retirement, Fehsenfeld set about researching the company’s options, which included everything from taking Crystal Flash public to a merger with another business or offering the company on the market.  During that process, Fehsenfeld came across employee stock ownership plans (ESOP), which seemed to cut the best balance between value and maintaining the company’s legacy in Grand Rapids. The ESOP also offered additional tax benefits that weren’t available if he took the business to market.  “That was one of the factors that made me think about that, in addition to the fact that you feel emotionally connected to your employees and you don’t really want to see the company broken up and split into pieces,” Fehsenfeld said. “You want to come up with a good future for the people you’ve worked with for years.”

Read more: A family affair: Crystal Flash opts for ESOP to pass business to employees