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Show me the Money!

April Dowland’s cookie idea was not only cute, they were delicious (Roeck’s Bakery – Kiel, Wisconsin)

Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.


There are a lot of decisions made in the course of a day at work, and there are none more important and often challenging than those affecting a company’s employees. For reference you can check out my original blog article from May 18, 2021.

If you are currently employed somewhere, or just have the ability to see , it should be fairly apparent almost every business in the United States is hiring for all sorts of positions. During the summer the government was also offering an enhanced unemployment benefit of $300, so to fight this we offered an Enhanced Employment benefit of $300 per week to all our Rockstars. It was a big risk, but we could not take a chance to lose people during our busy season.

This was not an easy decision. When our leadership team was reviewing this, it was potentially adding $850,000 in payroll and employer payroll taxes, or roughly an additional nine percent to our payroll. There were a lot of sleepless nights to say the least.

To pull this off we needed to make sure we hit our sales forecasts and cut capital expenses where possible. Sort of like a team going into the playoffs, we had to sacrifice some of the future for current success. We knew if we lost a large number of our Rockstars we couldn’t sell what we didn’t have. Will it work? Will people be thankful for the bonus? For that matter will they show up to work the following week after the checks are handed out?

Soooo…. How’d the program work????

  • It was very fun to see what everyone was putting their bonus towards
  • The final expense was roughly $750,000 in bonus and taxes
  • NINETY-ONE percent of our roughly 190 Rockstars earned the full $4,200 bonus (less taxes)
  • Even though we discussed how taxes work and they had to come off, there were some people still mad how much taxes are taken off when you start with $4200
  • Two people out of the 191 quit after they received their check
I was jokingly told by one of the servers my Sombrero was cultural appropriations so I made sure to tip well👍! They do like us there!

The program was very successful in accomplishing our goals: maintain our current staff, use the program to help gain new Rockstars that might not know how good it is to work at Buechel Stone, and make sure everyone at Buechel Stone has FUN when we are all done.

The parties were set for our locations, and we wanted to make sure we held our core value of FUN. My partner Scott Buechel, April Dowland (our COO), and myself boarded a plane at 6:00 AM Monday morning to fly to Winfield, Kansas to personally hand out the checks and say Thank You to everyone for the hard work and dedication to the job to make the program successful.

The first of several stops at the airport

We landed in Wichita, drove to Winfield, celebrated dinner and stories with the Kansas Rockstars at my favorite local Mexican restaurants, El Maguey. When we were all done we said our good-byes, jumped back into the car, and drove back to Wichita for the night to get on the plane to North Carolina the next morning. We catch the flight to Ashville, North Carolina via flight through O’Hare. One interesting fact the flight was delayed 1 1/2 hours due to missing paint on the fuselage that was fixed with none other than duct tape.

We get in and drive to Marion, for dinner at my favorite local Mexican restaurant Las Salsa with the second shift Rockstars. Wake up Wednesday morning, go to the shop to see how things are going, hit lunch again at the same Mexican restaurant, and are back to the airport that afternoon to head home.

Thursday the party continued. We brought all Wisconsin Rockstars under one large tent to celebrate together. Of course we had Mexican catered in from Sombreros as well as corn on the cob grilled by Brad Karls. Having everyone together was a great experience. People cheered, they stood up and gave thanks to each other for helping get through the summer hours putting in 50-55 hours a week, and recognized other Rockstars that they felt showed commitment to our core values of Caring, Ownership Mentality, Personal Integrity, Fun, and Get Sh!t Done!

The program was such a success we decided to do a round two of “Buechel Bucks”. This round has the same ground rules with the payout for production Rockstars at $100 per week starting on September 20 through December 11, 2021. The check will be paid on December 17. When it is all said and done, a large number of our Rockstars will have earned an extra $5,200 in bonuses for the year.

Will it work? Will we burn through all our cash? Will the economy flip to bear? Will housing tank and building come to an end? Will customers appreciate what we do for our Rockstars to help get them their stone as quickly as possible? Questions owners and leaders think about all day, every day. But we at Buechel Stone do know, take care of those when you can and they will take care of you when times are tough. We are all exceptional Rockstars, and our groupies love the product we make for them. Be bold, take chances, and take care of those around you.

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