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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Melissa Hoover of USFWC on Converting Existing Businesses to Co-ops

Conversions are potentially so important for several reasons. Most broadly, there is a tremendous potential with such a large number of “baby boomer” business owners retiring in the coming years and decades. What will they do with their businesses? With conversions we have a huge opportunity to save businesses and jobs that might otherwise be lost if the retiring owner closes the doors or sells the business. We see conversions in all sectors, industries and regions—but we see more and more of them in places where the business is a real pillar of the community, either because it employs people in good jobs or because it provides a critical product or service, or both. So we have a whole system of existing small, locally-owned businesses that provide jobs, anchor capital, in some cases anchor downtown businesses in rural areas or whole neighborhoods in cities, and are part of the economic and social fabric of a place—and we should be spending a lot of energy and thought around how to preserve these. And if they are preserved as worker cooperatives, the benefit of that business is amplified for all its owners, and it’s much more likely to stay in that community than to move to the next cheapest place to do business.

~Melissa Hoover, Executive Director, United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives

Read the full text of the interview here.

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