MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)Another Minnesota-based company is raising its own minimum wage.

Mahtomedi-based Chuck and Don’s Pet Food Outlet is giving its employees a starting wage of $10.10 an hour.

Company co-founder Chuck Anderson says he didn’t want to wait for mandates from the government to do what he calls “the right thing.”

The company has experienced double-digit growth in the past seven years, so now it’s investing in its employees.

“We want Chuck and Don’s to not just be a job,” Anderson said. “We want Chuck and Don’s to be a place where people can go to work and make a career here.”

New employees now make 10.10 an hour.

“For those who were making $9 or $10 an hour, their wages went up proportionately, so they went from $9.50 to $11 or whatever the case might be,” Anderson said.

Anderson says store managers and salaried employees got a 10-percent raise. Assistant Manager Laura Kraupa says the wage increase has helped employee morale.

“It really helps us all feel valued by the company. It definitely helps us be more competitive when we are hiring too,” Kraupa said.

It also pushes them to work harder, especially since the company is moving towards becoming employee owned.

“We don’t sell our stock on the market,” Andersons said. “We are a privately-held company, but we are going to start offering our employees stock.”

While some companies oppose a wage increase, citing the potential impact on operating cost, Chuck and Don’s says it’s looking at the big picture, and how its decision will help the company and its employees.

“We may not grow the bottom line as fast as we would or had anticipated, but again, we are doing the right thing,” he said.

Anderson says the company is expanding. They hope to open three more stores in the metro, as well as expand their stores in Denver.


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