Because many small business owners are nearing retirement, there is special interest right now in the possibility of conversion, when owners sell the business to their workers.

Real Pickles in Greenfield, Massachusetts converted to a worker cooperative, with its previous owners DAWI has done research on conversion, with attention to rural areas like the High Country. Successful Cooperative Ownership  Transitions: Case Studies on the Conversion of Privately Held Businesses to Worker Cooperatives (2015) documents stories of successful conversions. The Rural Succession Dilemma and the Cooperative Solution (2014) suggests that nearly 10,000 firms in North Carolina that exited the market between 1990 and 2010 could have been converted to worker cooperatives instead of being closed or sold to competitors. In total, these firms accounted for about 240,000 jobs and $25 billion of sales in North Carolina, with a good numbers of these is rural areas.

Any small businesses in our community that convert to worker cooperatives rather than shutting down keeps wealth and jobs in the community. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.