Kalafer happily shares tax reform wealth with workers

Steve Kalafer, the founding chairman of the Flemington Car and Truck Family of Brands, gave $500 to each of his more than 700 full-time employees Monday morning for one simple reason: It’s the right thing to do.

“Be kind, be fair, make money, do good — that’s the ethos of our company, and it has served us well for 42 years,” he told ROI-NJ.

So, when Kalafer’s company, which consists of 17 brands in eight locations in the Flemington area, figured out it will benefit from the recent federal tax reform bill, he was determined to pass it on — and not wait.

“The purpose of this reform is to reward people who create your business,” he said. “That’s your employees.

“I expect, by sharing the tax reform with employees, to be able to improve our business, and everybody will benefit. And that’s really the purpose of tax reform.”

Word was announced to the employees Monday morning, Kalafer said.

“It was the first real Monday in our company this year and we wanted to say thank you to employees for what they did,” he said.

“We said, ‘There’s tax reform, and we want to share it with you. And we want you to share it with your families. We want to share it with our communities. This is to make sure that we all get better together, that we grow together and that we work hard together in good times and bad.’”

Kalafer said the announcement was greeted with applause. And, he said, the applause wasn’t for him, but for the company.

“There was applause for the company they work with, who they trust; what’s better than that?” he said. “People knew that our company appreciated and respected their efforts.

“I just want to show the people that I respect the most, the people who take care of our customers, how important they are. Without them doing what they do, we’re nothing.”

Kalafer said he hopes he can be a trend-setter in the state.

“I ask all my fellow entrepreneurial business owners to look and say, ‘Is this something I can do, and how can it benefit our company, our employees, our community and the state of New Jersey?’” he said.