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Employees Purchase Chicago’s Clark-Devon Hardware

After 99 years and three generations of family ownership, Clark-Devon Hardware Co., Chicago’s largest independent hardware store, has been sold—to the 65 people who work there.

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After 99 years and three generations of family ownership, Clark-Devon Hardware Co., Chicago’s largest independent hardware store, has been sold—to the 65 people who work there.

As its century celebration nears, co-owners and brothers Ken and Ed Walchak, who have headed the growth of this Chicago icon for the past 50 years, chose to sell the company to its employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

“We wanted the business that our father and grandfather built and nurtured to continue while maintaining the reputation, the culture and the commitment to the community and our customers that they taught us,” explained Ed Walchak. “We found the structure of an ESOP was the best way to reward the people who helped us build the business, thus helping create personal wealth while ensuring the long term success of the company.”

Clark-Devon Hardware is now 100% employee owned with all the benefits of ownership accruing to its employees, many of whom have been with the company for decades. “We are grateful Ken and Ed considered an ESOP for passing the baton of this amazing business which has built its great reputation for decades” said Xan Flink, the new CEO. “I hope our stewardship honors them and their family.”

With this transition, Clark-Devon’s new employee-owners will join about 14 million employee-owners nationwide in 7,000 companies. Clark-Devon becomes one of only 300 ESOPs in Illinois and one of just a handful that operate in the retail space.

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