Resources for Rural Employee Ownership

Here are some resources to learn more about small business conversions to worker cooperatives and employee ownership in rural areas. 

Company Stories


Places

Maine

NPQ – Nonprofit Takes Leadership Role to Address Business Succession “Tsunami”

From NPQ: Here at NPQ, we have noted that a business ownership succession wave—often called the “silver tsunami”—is rising. According to the nonprofit Project Equity, nationally “baby boomers own 2.34 million businesses, employ 24.7 million people, and have combined annual sales of $5.14 trillion.” Sadly, 80 percent of these businesses lack succession plans. Slowly, awareness of the looming crisis is […]

Press Republican – Keeping North Country businesses alive

From the Press Republican: More than 10,000 business owners nearing retirement in the North Country, and new ones are hard to find, but the new Adirondack North Country Center for Businesses in Transition stands ready to help. The unique collaboration of regional organizations and leaders aims to support existing business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in […]

Business ownership by workers: are worker cooperatives a viable option?

From Iowa State University: One possible strategy for both succession and new business development is employee ownership. New business formation as an employee-owned firm or cooperative may have some advantages over formation as a sole proprietorship or partnership: pooling financial resources, spreading risk and combining the various knowledge and skills of the members involved. In […]

USDA – Worker-owned / ESOPs can help preserve business in rural America

From the USDA: Employee ownership can help a business prosper by creating financial incentives for performance and by providing more self management of working conditions and policies. These benefits may accrue whether businesses are organized as cooperatives or as Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) when workers have a majority control. Employee owners in rural communities […]

.

North Carolina

NPQ – Nonprofit Takes Leadership Role to Address Business Succession “Tsunami”

From NPQ: Here at NPQ, we have noted that a business ownership succession wave—often called the “silver tsunami”—is rising. According to the nonprofit Project Equity, nationally “baby boomers own 2.34 million businesses, employ 24.7 million people, and have combined annual sales of $5.14 trillion.” Sadly, 80 percent of these businesses lack succession plans. Slowly, awareness of the looming crisis is […]

Press Republican – Keeping North Country businesses alive

From the Press Republican: More than 10,000 business owners nearing retirement in the North Country, and new ones are hard to find, but the new Adirondack North Country Center for Businesses in Transition stands ready to help. The unique collaboration of regional organizations and leaders aims to support existing business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in […]

Business ownership by workers: are worker cooperatives a viable option?

From Iowa State University: One possible strategy for both succession and new business development is employee ownership. New business formation as an employee-owned firm or cooperative may have some advantages over formation as a sole proprietorship or partnership: pooling financial resources, spreading risk and combining the various knowledge and skills of the members involved. In […]

USDA – Worker-owned / ESOPs can help preserve business in rural America

From the USDA: Employee ownership can help a business prosper by creating financial incentives for performance and by providing more self management of working conditions and policies. These benefits may accrue whether businesses are organized as cooperatives or as Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) when workers have a majority control. Employee owners in rural communities […]

.

Vermont

NPQ – Nonprofit Takes Leadership Role to Address Business Succession “Tsunami”

From NPQ: Here at NPQ, we have noted that a business ownership succession wave—often called the “silver tsunami”—is rising. According to the nonprofit Project Equity, nationally “baby boomers own 2.34 million businesses, employ 24.7 million people, and have combined annual sales of $5.14 trillion.” Sadly, 80 percent of these businesses lack succession plans. Slowly, awareness of the looming crisis is […]

Press Republican – Keeping North Country businesses alive

From the Press Republican: More than 10,000 business owners nearing retirement in the North Country, and new ones are hard to find, but the new Adirondack North Country Center for Businesses in Transition stands ready to help. The unique collaboration of regional organizations and leaders aims to support existing business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in […]

Business ownership by workers: are worker cooperatives a viable option?

From Iowa State University: One possible strategy for both succession and new business development is employee ownership. New business formation as an employee-owned firm or cooperative may have some advantages over formation as a sole proprietorship or partnership: pooling financial resources, spreading risk and combining the various knowledge and skills of the members involved. In […]

USDA – Worker-owned / ESOPs can help preserve business in rural America

From the USDA: Employee ownership can help a business prosper by creating financial incentives for performance and by providing more self management of working conditions and policies. These benefits may accrue whether businesses are organized as cooperatives or as Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) when workers have a majority control. Employee owners in rural communities […]

.

Wisconsin

NPQ – Nonprofit Takes Leadership Role to Address Business Succession “Tsunami”

From NPQ: Here at NPQ, we have noted that a business ownership succession wave—often called the “silver tsunami”—is rising. According to the nonprofit Project Equity, nationally “baby boomers own 2.34 million businesses, employ 24.7 million people, and have combined annual sales of $5.14 trillion.” Sadly, 80 percent of these businesses lack succession plans. Slowly, awareness of the looming crisis is […]

Press Republican – Keeping North Country businesses alive

From the Press Republican: More than 10,000 business owners nearing retirement in the North Country, and new ones are hard to find, but the new Adirondack North Country Center for Businesses in Transition stands ready to help. The unique collaboration of regional organizations and leaders aims to support existing business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in […]

Business ownership by workers: are worker cooperatives a viable option?

From Iowa State University: One possible strategy for both succession and new business development is employee ownership. New business formation as an employee-owned firm or cooperative may have some advantages over formation as a sole proprietorship or partnership: pooling financial resources, spreading risk and combining the various knowledge and skills of the members involved. In […]

USDA – Worker-owned / ESOPs can help preserve business in rural America

From the USDA: Employee ownership can help a business prosper by creating financial incentives for performance and by providing more self management of working conditions and policies. These benefits may accrue whether businesses are organized as cooperatives or as Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) when workers have a majority control. Employee owners in rural communities […]

.


Sectors

Solar

California Solar Electric Company – Grass Valley, CA

Industry: Solar Location: Grass Valley, California Number of employees: 30 Became employee owned: 2019 Assistance: Project Equity From the company https://californiasolarco.com/ Learn more Yubanet – Cal Solar joins national Solar Co-Op (2020) The Union – Cal Solar becomes first worker cooperative in Nevada County (2019) Yes – Converting Businesses to Cooperatives Just Got Easier (2019) Project Equity – […]

Insource Renewables – Pittsfield, ME

Insource Renewables is a solar installation business in Pittsfield, Maine. The original owner recognized his limited capacity to continue to manage and grow his business as a sole proprietor and saw conversion to employee-ownership as a solution that would balance his lifelong commitment and anticipated growth of the business. Insource Renewables provides a unique opportunity […]

Sun Light & Power – Berkeley, CA

Industry: Solar Location: California Number of employees: 80 Became employee owned: 2018 Assistance: ICA Group, Beyster Institute Learn more Sun Light & Power – California solar solutions provider, Sun Light & Power, becomes 100% employee owned Staubus – The Cooperative / ESOP Hybrid: The Best of Both (slides) North Bay Business Journal – Employee ownership embraced by […]

Northwind Solar – Stevens Point, WI

North Wind Solar is a solar power system design and installation company organized in 2007 in Stevens Point, WI. Its mission is to educate people on the numerous benefits of solar power and to deliver clean solar electricity to the utility grid in order to help people take concrete steps to combat climate change, resource […]

ReVision Energy – Portland, ME

Industry: Solar Location: Portland, Maine Number of employees: 250 Became employee owned: 2017 From the company https://www.revisionenergy.com/employee-owned/ ReVision Energy – ReVision Energy Converts to Employee Ownership (2017) Learn more Press Herald – ReVision Energy wins clean energy honor (2019) Island Institute – ReVision Energy is reinventing energy economy (2018) 13 News Now – The Maine solar […]

Technicians for Sustainability – Tucson, AZ

Technicians for Sustainability (TFS) in an employee-owned cooperative in the solar industry in Tucson, Arizona. As of 2018, 16 of the 50 employees have joined as owners. The co-founders had been interested since their start in how shared ownership could help create a positive, engaging work environment. They began to seriously explore the idea in […]

Sustainergy – Cincinnati, OH

Industry: Solar Location: Cincinnati, Ohio Number of employees: 5 Became employee owned: 2013 Assistance: Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative Financing: Shared Capital Cooperative Learn more Sustainergy –  Our Team Co-op News – Future of work: Cincinnati experiments with co-op/union hybrid (2018) Yes – From Grocery Stores to Labor Unions, Cooperatives Were the Answer (2017) Cooperative Grocer – […]

Catamount Solar- Randolph, VT

Industry: Solar Location: Randolph, Vermont Number of employees: 11 Became employee owned: 2011 Assistance: Vermont Employee Ownership Center Financing: Cooperative Fund of New England From the company Catamount Solar – Our Workers’ Cooperative Learn more VT Digger The Vermont Solar Carport – A collaboration between Vermont Cooperatives (2020) Green Energy Times – Catamount Solar: Sustainable, Sharing, Stable, […]

Namaste Solar – Boulder, CO

Namasté Solar was founded in 2005 to provide residential and commercial solar services. The company chose to restructure as a worker cooperative in 2011. Prior to the transition, the company operated on a one-person-one-vote basis for most operational decisions, but shareholder votes were made on a one-share-one-vote basis.  The cooperative model more closely matched the democratic ideals […]

Evergreen Energy Solutions – Cleveland, OH

Industry: Solar Location: Cleveland, Ohio Number of employees: 44 Became employee owned: 2009 Financing: Fund for Employee Ownership Assistance: Ohio Employee Ownership Center From the company Evergreen Energy Solutions Evergreen – Ohio Solar Cooperative (video) Learn more Journal Sentinel – In Cleveland, co-op model finds hope in employers rooted in the city Next City – Cleveland’s Evergreen […]

Construction

Oxbow Design Build – Easthampton, MA

Industry: Construction, Architecture and Design Location: Easthampton, Massachusetts Number of employees: 7 Became employee owned: 2019 Financing: Shared Capital Cooperative Learn more oxbowdesignbuild.com VAWC – Oxbow Design Build Cooperative (2019) Hasler – Worker, Consumer, Producer….Owner (2018)   Employee Owned Small Businesses in Construction Employee Owned Small Businesses in Architecture and Design Employee Owned Small Businesses in Massachusetts Employee Owned […]

Mexcon – Philadelphia, PA

Industry: Construction Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Number of employees: 40 Became employee owned: In process Assistance: Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance Learn more Facebook – Mexcon Next City – Worker Co-ops Catch on in Philadelphia (2018) PACA – Unstoppable How cooperative businesses are transforming communities (video) (2017) PACA – City Council Hearing Testimonial (2016) Philadelphia Citizen – Reading Between The Co-ops […]

Alliance Mechanical – Essex Junction, VT

Industry: Construction Location:Essex Junction, Vermont Number of employees: 125 Became employee owned: 2019 Assistance: Vermont Employee Ownership Center Learn more Burlington Free Press – Employee Owned Companies Gain Traction (2019) Vermont Biz – VT Brothers sell company to their employees (2019)   Employee Owned Small Businesses in Construction Employee Owned Small Businesses in Vermont Employee […]

Hivemind – Philadelphia, PA

Industry: Construction Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Number of employees: 10 Became employee owned: 2019 Assistance: Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance Learn more www.hivemindphilly.com Philadelphia Inquirer – Why this construction boss decided to turn his workers into owners   Employee Owned Small Businesses in Pennsylvania Employee Owned Small Businesses in Construction Employee Owned Small Businesses Assisted by the Philadelphia […]

Davis Home Pros – Walnut Creek CA

Davis Home Pros is a 15-person residential remodeling cooperative in Walnut Creek California. The selling owners had worked hard with employees to create a positive workplace culture centered around quality craftsmanship, customer service, and reasonable prices. About three years from retirement, they were looking for an innovative succession plan and committed to worker ownership. The […]

New Prairie Construction – Urbana, IL

New Prairie Construction is a 25-employee general contractor in Urbana, Illinois, with a special focus on historic restoration and green building.  The two owners of the 30-year old company transitioned to a worker cooperative in order to pursue retirement and legacy goals, seeing a cooperative as the best path for the company to retain employees […]

Brooklyn Stone and Tile, Brooklyn NY

Location: New York Industry: Manufacturing Number of employees: 8 Became employee owned: 2018 Assistance and financing from: The Working World Brooklyn Stone and Tile is a converted 8 employee business with a pilot three worker-owner cooperative that sells and installs tiles and marble countertops in New York City. The owner chose to sell to employees […]

A1DesignBuild – Bellingham, WA

A1DesignBuild is a 21-employee worker cooperative that does residential sustainable design and building in Bellingham, WA.   The owners decided to sell to a cooperative as a way to align with the values-drive construction work that has been at the center of the company’s culture for their 40 years building the business.  The process began from […]

Cooperativa PWA – Philadelphia, PA

Industry: Construction Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Number of employees: 8 Became employee owned: 2017 Assistance: Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance Learn more pwahandymen.com Next City – Worker Co-ops Catch on in Philadelphia (2018) PACA – Unstoppable How cooperative businesses are transforming communities (video) (2017) PACA – 20→20 Spotlight: Cooperativa PWA (2016) Video Employee Owned Small Businesses in Pennsylvania Employee Owned […]

Metis Construction – Seattle, WA

Metis Construction is a 36-employee worker cooperative that contracts to do residential and commercial building in Seattle, Washington.  The business was founded in 2007 by a sole-proprietor who has always identified as an artisan builder, more than an owner, and who previously worked alongside his employees as an independent contractor.  Believing that the pride of […]

Farming

New Roots Cooperative Farm – Lewiston, ME

Industry: Farming Location: Lewiston, Maine Number of employees: 4 Became employee owned: 2016 Assistance from: Cooperative Development Institute From the company https://newrootscooperativefarm.com/ https://newrootscooperativefarm.com/biography/ Kickstarter – Somali Bantu Food Truck for Maine! (2018) Learn more MaineBiz – New American, Native American business co-op efforts in Maine get USDA boost (2020) NPQ – Immigrants, Collaboration, and Co-ops […]

Rock Steady Farm and Flowers – Millerton, NY

Location: Millerton, New York Industry: Farming Number of employees: 7 Became employee owned: 2015 Assistance: The Working World From the company Rock Steady – Our Story Learn more USFWC – Co-op Hour: Worker Co-op Farms (vide0) (2019) Glynwood – Better Together (2019) City Limits – CSA Farmers Must Navigate Obstacles to Get Fresh Food to NYC’s Low-Income Tables […]

Letterbox Farm Collective – Hudson, NY

Location: New York Industry: Farming Number of employees: 7 Became employee owned:  2014 From the company http://www.letterboxfarm.com/ Learn more Vassar – Letterbox Farm Collective (2018) Berkshire Grown – Creating the Cooperative Farm: a NOFA-NY Workshop (2015) Greenhorns – Cooperative Farming: Frameworks for Working Together (2014) DAWI – An Introduction to Worker Cooperatives for Farmers and […]

Agua Gorda Cooperative – Long Prairie, MN

Location: Long Prairie, Minnesota Industry: Farming Number of employees: 3 Became employee owned: 2012 From the company Shared Ground – Agua Gorda Cooperative  Learn more Todd County Development Corporation – Agua Gorda Cooperative is the Recipient of Todd County’s Emerging Business Award (2019) Morrison County Record – Agua Gorda Cooperative owners named 2019 ‘Todd County […]

Fifth Season Cooperative – Viroqua, WI

Location: Viroqua, Wisconsin Industry: Farming Number of employees: 5 Became cooperatively owned: 2010 From the company http://www.fifthseasoncoop.com/ Fifth Season – The History of the Fifth Season Cooperative Fifth Season –  Cooperative Bylaws Learn more Vernon Broadcaster – Fifth Season Co-op continues growth, success (2018) P2P Foundation – The Fifth Season Cooperative: Building Community Wealth and […]

Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm, QC

Location: Quebec Industry: Farming Number of employees: 5 Became employee owned: 2005 From the company https://www.fermetournesol.qc.ca/en/about/ Learn more CWCF – Tourne-Sol Reaps the Harvest of Co-operation (2020) Farmer to Farmer Podcast – Dan Brisebois on Farming in a Cooperative, Seed Production, and Crop Planning (2016) FADQ – La ferme Tourne-Sol ou le modèle coopératif en milieu […]

Diggers Mirth – Burlington, VT

Industry: Farming Location: Burlington, Vermont Number of employees: 5 Became employee owned: 1992 From the company https://www.diggersmirth.com/ Learn more Intervale – Diggers Mirth Collective Farm Center for Agriculture and Food – Farmer Story: Diggers’ Mirth (2018) Civil Eats – The Co-op Farming Model Might Help Save America’s Small Farms (2018) Greenhorns – Cooperative Farming (2018) […]

Fedco Seeds – Clinton, ME

Consumers own 60% of this cooperative and worker members own 40%. Industry: Farming Location: Clinton, Maine Number of employees: 60 Became employee owned: 1978 From the company https://www.fedcoseeds.com/ https://www.fedcoseeds.com/about_fedco.htm Fedco – Fedco Seeds – A 60%:40% Consumer/Worker Cooperative (2009) Learn more Lancaster Farming – Seed Company Founded During Maine’s ‘Back-to-the-Land Movement’ (2019) University of Maine […]