WINSTON-SALEM, NC - Salem Distributing Co., the parent company of Salem Stone, a Winston-Salem, NC-based, employee-owned company has been recognized as the Carolina’s Chapter 2007 ESOP “Company Of The Year.” This annual award is sponsored by the National ESOP Association in Washington, DC. This year’s award continues to honor the success of employee-owned businesses and their employee-owners whose growth and contributions exemplify the qualities and benefits of employee ownership. Winners of this year’s regional competition will vie for the national honor to be announced at the 30th Annual National ESOP Conference, taking place this month in Washington, DC.

Salem was founded in 1934 as the Siewer’s Sales Agency, and began under its current name in 1972 following a change in ownership. Today, this 100% employee-owned company is comprised of four distinct business units: Salem Flat Glass, Salem Vision, Salem Advanced Surfacing Materials and Salem Stone. It has successfully managed this complex relationship of industries, equipment and materials to build a wealth of product and process knowledge unique to a single company.

Only into the third year of 100% employee ownership, Salem has made great strides in a corporate restructuring initiative, which included reinventing its corporate culture to focus on empowering, inspiring and challenging its employee-owners. The bottom lines of this initiative were to better serve and grow its customer base. The results yielded an impressive 15% growth in the first half of 2006 that yielded Salem’s recognition as one of the Triad area’s “FAST 50,” a business growth competition.

Michael Keeling, President of the ESOP Association stated at the presentation, “Salem [Distributing Co.], based in the furniture capital of the world, has been able to diversify in a way to combat the negative effects of off-shore imports,” he said. “It is the ESOP spirit that has enabled them to grow and succeed despite market adversities. Salem is clearly a vibrant company that is poised for continued growth in the global economy in which they participate.”