From Rural Cooperatives:
Much has been made of the oncoming wave of baby boomer retirements — dubbed the “Silver Tsunami” — and the opportunity for retiring business owners to convert to employee ownership as a business succession strategy. Particularly in rural areas, where the population is much older than average, selling any small business is often difficult. For the smallest and most rural businesses, the default retirement plan is frequently liquidation and closure. However, conversion to a worker cooperative is also an appealing option for many younger business owners, albeit for different reasons.
Such was the case for Vaughan Woodruff, an eighthgeneration Maine resident who was raised with a strong commitment to his community. His mother, the first woman mayor of his hometown of Pittsfield, was a huge influence on him, as was his grandfather, a widely known large animal veterinarian. Like many of his peers, he left town following high school graduation to seek opportunity. In 2008, while living in Bozeman, Mont., Woodruff started a small contracting firm that specialized in solar energy and energy efficiency.