"Three worker-owned businesses show what it's like to work collectively, manage a business and deal with problems in a truly democratic way.The Cheeseboard Bakery and Cheese Shop with 18 workers, Rainbow Grocery with 150 workers, and Inkworks Press with18 members, all located in the San Francisco Bay Area, are successful worker-owned businesses, and members of NoBAWC."
All of these businesses have grown since the film was made in the 1990s.Rainbow has over 250 worker-owners.The Cheese Board has over 50, and has helped spin off Arizmendi Lakeshore, shown in the video, and four other bakeries, with another 100 worker-owners.Inkworks has grown and spun off its graphic design department as Design Action Collective.
1) Service-orientation: as an outgrowth of their spiritual community, the ashram members viewed Rainbow as an outlet and opportunity for service to their fellow humans. Many of the more politically-motivated food stores had a disregard or even hostile attitude towards customer service. Even though Rainbow quickly grew to have a majority of workers/volunteers from outside the spiritual community, it retained a greater commitment to service than other stores.
2) Attention to business: While some of the other stores did not value business skills -- or were even suspicious of people attentive to business concerns – Rainbow valued and followed initiatives from those with business skills and/or backgrounds (in the first few years, particularly Bill Crolius, Nancy Crolius, Ryan Sarnataro, Patrick Smith, and Judy Brewer).
3) Superior product selection: Perhaps as a by-product of its commitment to service and its concern for business, Rainbow developed a wide selection of products -- whereas other stores were slow to move beyond bins of whole grains, etc. Rainbow was eager to introduce shoppers to a wide variety of healthy products they might enjoy – rather than operating from strict ideological criteria about what people should eat.