Ace Hardware, Ocean Spray and Land O’ Lakes are some of the most popular business names in the U.S. They’re also among the most successful cooperatives. Co-ops are owned and controlled by members, not outside shareholders, and there’s a movement underway to grow co-ops in Arizona. On a sunny December morning dozens of people gathered at Gateway Community College’s Central City Campus to learn about Arizona’s co-op landscape. Nigel Forrest, a postdoctoral research associate at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, hosted the day long workshop with support from the Arizona Cooperative Initiative and volunteers. Forrest said out of approximately 50 to 60 co-ops in the state, credit unions dominate. Worker co-ops are the least common. “Out of 500,000 small businesses in Arizona, there’s only one or two worker cooperatives,” Forrest said. Technicians for Sustainability is a worker cooperative formed in 2017. The Tucson-based solar design-build firm has 17 employee-owners, including Travis Kendall who is a lead installer “What I really like about the worker co-op business is that it allows you to scale up a business to a larger size but still have the value of having an owner like owners of small businesses who are still out on the job overseeing work every day,” Kendall said.
Read the full article at: https://kjzz.org/content/743905/why-theres-push-grow-cooperative-businesses-arizona