"I sold young, in 1987, at the age of 38. I re-structured my sole proprietorship to a worker owned cooperative corporation. It was a dramatic hinge point in the history of the company. Ownership became available to all after five years of employment, enabling people to own and guide their workplace. The responsibility, the power, and the profits all belong to the group of owners. There are no outside investors and no non-employee owners. We decide what kind of business ours will be. The decisions are partly economic and partly philosophical.
"So our challenge is not what to do with the business when it’s time to retire, but how to successfully navigate the transition to Generation Two. The oldest amongst us are now in our sixties. During the next 10 years there will be many retirements. For nearly a decade now we have been working on this new task by carefully hiring young, dedicated, passionate people to carry on. Seventeen of our 28 employees are currently owners; the youngest of these is 34. During the next year several more thirty-somethings will join the group of owners. One of these just turned 30. The transition is in full swing."
John Abrams blogs about South Mountain Company, Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place.