History

The Vermont Employee Ownership Center has provided direct assistance in exploring an employee ownership to representatives of hundreds of Vermont businesses since 2001.

More than twenty of these businesses have gone on to implement some form of employee ownership. Some highlights:

  • In 2003, we assisted the founder and four employees of a construction company to re-organize as a worker cooperative. The new company, called Red House Building, now has a dozen members (employee owners) and ten other employees on track to become owners.
  • In 2005, Birdseye Building, a 40-employee business, implemented an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).  The VEOC provided advice and referrals.
  • In 2006, Green Mountain Spinnery became owned by all nine of its full-time employees through a worker cooperative structure. The VEOC provided extensive assistance during this ownership transition.
  • In 2009, Belcam, a New York-based manufacturing company with over 90 employees, some of them Vermont residents, became a 100% ESOP-owned company.  The VEOC provided referrals and advice.
  • In 2010, Clear Solutions, a New Hampshire-based manufacturing company with 40 employees, some of them Vermonters, implemented an ESOP.  The founder attended our conferences and workshops and met with us during the period he was considering the ESOP as an exit strategy.
  • In 2011, PT360, a physical therapy practice with 12 member-owners had its launch.  The VEOC participated in early meetings and helped with bylaws.
  • In 2015, The New School of Montpelier converted to a worker co-op after working with the VEOC extensively, and with the assistance of the Vermont Employee Ownership Loan Fund.
  • In 2019, Alliance Group, an HVAC company headquartered in Essex Junction with over 100 employees converted to 100% owned through an ESOP. Also that year, Nutty Steph's--now known as Rabble-Rouser--a chocolate and granola manufacturer in Middlesex, converted to a worker cooperative.

The VEOC has presented its Vermont Employee Ownership Conference in June each year since 2003, with attendance in recent years over 200.  We also give workshops and shorter presentations around the state, often in partnership with local Chambers of Commerce, Regional Development Corporations, and other economic development partners.

News and Articles Featuring The VEOC:

Mountain Times: Vermont leads in worker co-ops (May 18, 2022)

VtSBDC: Are you considering a business transition? (May10, 2022)

Ownership Matters: The Four Paths to Employee Ownership (March 22, 2022)

Fifty by Fifty: Federal Spending Bill Includes Wins for Employee Ownership (March 16, 2022)

Vermont Business Magazine: Sanders announces more than $38 million for Vermont communities (March 3, 2022)

Seven Days: New Arrivals Restructure 150-Year-Old Marshfield Village Store as a Worker-Owned Cooperative (March 2, 2022)

Vermont Business Magazine: Employee Owners of Vermont raise $30,000 for Vermont Foodbank (November 17, 2021)

Vermont Business Magazine: VBSR honors Cindy Turcot with Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement (October 13, 2021)

Truthout: Pandemic Crash Shows Worker Co-ops Are More Resilient Than Traditional Business (May 8, 2020)

Vermont Business Magazine: Millman stepping down after 29 years at Chroma Technology (April 2, 2020)

American Progress: Building Workers' Wealth in Cities and States (January 20, 2020)

Burlington Free Press: We bought the company! Vermont takes leading role in employee-owned businesses (June 17, 2019)

Nonprofit Quarterly: Vermont Rides Rising Employee Ownership Wave (June 12, 2019)

VTDigger: Interest in employee ownership models growing (June 9, 2019)

Vermont Business Magazine: VT Brothers sell company to their employees (May 30, 2019)

The Intercept: Could Expanding Employee Ownership be the Next Big Economic Policy? (December 26, 2018)

Vermont Business Magazine: A year of change for employee-owned Gardener's Supply (December 18, 2018)

Next City: Congress Has Chance to Support Worker Co-ops With Two New Bills (May 22, 2017)

Shelterforce: The Next Boom for Worker Co-ops? (May 3, 2016)

Brattleboro Reformer: Chroma co-founder backs employee ownership (November 26, 2008)