For Jones, the cooperative model became a north star, a way to democratize ownership and control of the business while maintaining a non-hierarchical workplace. “As a worker co-op, my team votes me down sometimes, but that's how we get the best decision for the group,” Jones notes. “I think any strong organization should be structured that way, where there’s not just one person who can make decisions for the whole group.” A recent collective decision was to launch a line of CBD-infused nut milks, making Pecan Milk Co-op one of the only dairy-alternative companies in the U.S. to do so. They make and package their products at Leaven, a Black-owned collaborative kitchen space in Decatur, Georgia.
In addition to the new product line, the team now includes 10 worker-owners. The cost of a share to buy into full worker-ownership is $1,450, but workers can choose to contribute sweat equity toward that sum from their hourly pay, starting at $7.25 an hour. Once they reach full worker-owner status, that rate goes up to $15 an hour, and the company has its sights set on increasing wages and adding benefits as the business continues to grow. Any portion of net profits not reinvested into the business are shared equally among all worker-owners.