Bucks County business owner takes pay cut to keep employees on payroll during pandemic

A Bucks County, Pennsylvania water ice company owner took a pay cut to keep all of his employees on staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.

For Rich Trotter, a West Point graduate turned Army captain, he never thought he'd be the owner of a water ice company.

In 1997, Trotter, of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, bought Rosati Ice. Since his water ice recipe meets a legal nutritional requirement for a serving of fruit, what keeps him in business are schools, grades K-12. But then, because of COVID-19, the schools shut down.

"When COVID hit it just knocked the sale out of us," he said.

Even with his company losing money quickly, he vowed to never to let any of his 20 employees go and take the pay cut for himself.

"Currently on paper, I'm the lowest-paid guy in the company right now and that's OK. That's the right thing to do," said Trotter. "I am responsible for 20 families economic livelihoods."I'm not going to shove people over the side of the ship. We're gonna share in this."

He began a donation program that's two-fold. Every $3 earned from every cup of water ice sold will go to keeping his employees full-time through the winter, and the cups of water ice will be donated to veterans, also something close to his heart.

"They're the sons and daughters of our country and they're a blanket of security that we sleep under every night," said Trotter. "My job is to take care of my people. And if I take care of them, they take care of me."
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.