In January 2020, the employees of Happy Earth Cleaning purchased and converted the successful, nine-year-old business to a worker cooperative.
Happy Earth provides eco-friendly cleaning services for homes, businesses, and apartment buildings. Five long-standing employees bought the business when previous owners wanted to move to support family members. As a worker cooperative, the business is democratically owned and operated by employees with each employee-owner having equal ownership stake. As a result, Happy Earth Cleaning Cooperative continues to provide eco-friendly cleaning services to customers throughout the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul and the eighteen employees retain their jobs.
"My parents are in their 70s, so it’s time to move back to Seattle” said previous owner Jesse Dunbar who, along with spouse and business partner Marion, will move in May. The Dunbars and employees learned about cooperatives from the City of Minneapolis’ Co-op Technical Assistance Program, or C-TAP. “We’ve been thinking about selling to employees since the beginning” and, after taking C-TAP, Dunbar said his thinking shifted to “yeah, we’re going to do this. And people stepped up.” Dunbar began working with Nexus Community Partners and Project Equity soon after C-TAP and was connected to Shared Capital Cooperative for financing.