Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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the group—by that point, the situation is usually extreme enough that there's not much chance of reconciling, but it's still a crucial part of the process that the person be able to have that conversation. "You have to be ready and willing to terminate membership if one person is harmful to the group dynamic or the business," says Chris. "It's a long, hard-won lesson, and when it happens, it's a big deal." Collective Avenue is run by the two worker-owners and currently employs both volunteer labor (a common form of community investment) and candidates for worker-owner- ship, who are investing labor hours toward po- tential ownership. The shop grew from a pop- up to a brick-and-mortar space over the past year, so there is more opportunity to bring on new worker-owners as well as volunteers. This is their second summer running an internship program that allows high-school and college students and recent college graduates to take on projects, learn more about cooperatives, grow various skill sets, and, in some cases, work toward ownership. This summer, they hosted 15 interns, mostly college grads. "We talk about it as 'lift as you climb,'" Jonathan says. "You have to make sure your community is learning alongside you." CO-OPS: COMPLEX AND REWARDING While co-ops come with a lot of challeng- es and require fi ne-tuning over time, they also provide a real alternative to traditional hierarchies and create heaps of value for the communities lucky enough to house them. While not all workers begin co-op work with the values of selfl essness and communal investment required for a successful co-op, the ones who do create a valuable model for what coffee businesses can look like. There are several different types of co-ops with different focuses and goals, as well as hybrids that combine multiple types. The most common types are: What they all have in common: democratic voting structures, usually "one member, one vote." TYPES OF CO-OPS Worker Co-ops: Owned and operated by workers. Consumer Co-ops: Owned and operated by by the consum- ers buying the co-ops' goods and services. Producer Co-ops: Owned and operated by the producers collaborating to process and market their products. Purchasing Co-ops: Owned and operated by groups uniting to enhance their purchasing power. 83

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