GULFPORT, Miss. - During an employee breakfast at the Mississippi Aquarium, Shaggy's owners Ron Ladner and Rimmer Covington Jr., announced a new program to help Shaggy's employees purchase their first home and get back on their feet financially.
"We decided that as we continue to strengthen our 'culture of appreciation,' we wanted to do even more for our people," says Covington. "So Ron and I are introducing the Shaggy's staff to our team at Bancorp South, in a partnership, to help them reach their dreams."
Chris Romano, Market President for BancorpSouth, brought along a contingent of representatives who specialize in second-chance checking, secured credit cards, savings, auto loans, and home loans. They explained the various programs available to help the Shaggy's team reach their financial and life goals.
When the question was posed, "Will you raise your hand if you want to buy a home but can't currently qualify?" almost 30 people raised their hands.
"We want everyone to understand that if you want to buy a new home or car and have the commitment, Rimmer and I WILL make it happen," said Ladner, as he addressed his staff. "We recognize that for most of you, the biggest hurdle is the up-front down payment. But we want you to know that we stand ready to provide cash for 100 percent of your down payment…whatever it takes to make this happen. Have hope!"
Covington added, "Every situation will be different, some of you will need credit counseling…and we will provide that; some of you will need to pay charge offs, and we will help you pay them off; some of you will need cash, and we will provide that also."
Ladner and Covington committed to standing behind their employees through the underwriting process, including a pledge of their own personal credibility, to make sure all Shaggy's employees have a chance. In many cases, a "second chance" that they can't get from just walking into a local bank branch. "We are vouching for our employees," says Covington. "We intend to provide guarantees to help make them more credible in the eyes of the bankers."
Speaking to the group, Romano said, "Shaggy's is a very solid and strong business. We have a lot of confidence and respect for Ron and Rimmer and the Shaggy's operations and have been banking them for ten years. We also have confidence in each of you because you are part of what makes Shaggy's so successful."
In 2020, Ladner and Covington made a bold move to raise the internal minimum wage to $15 per hour and raise the tipped base rate to an average of $7-8 per hour, plus they pay for full health/dental/vision benefits for all full-time employees. The average non-manager employee at Shaggy's makes between $35,000-$55,000 per year.
"We want to give our people more than a job," says Ladner. "We want to give them 'a life,' hope, a future not just for them, but for their entire family."
Adds Covington, "We are creating real careers for people and making long-term dreams come true!"
For more information about Shaggy's, visit www.shaggys.com