WERU News Report 6/18/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Maine has been on the forefront of the buy local / eat local movement for years, and in Deer Isle-Stonington a landmark was achieved last week, with the formation of the largest worker-owned cooperative in the state. When the owners of the Burnt Cove Market, V&S Variety and Pharmacy, and The Galley
were preparing to retire last year, it seemed the logical next step was to sell the businesses. The businesses are one of the largest employers in town, and the future of those jobs was uncertain. But then the idea of forming a cooperative was floated. Over the past year, with the cooperation of the owners, Vern and Sandra Seile, and assistance from Mark Sprackland of the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative and Rob Brown of the Cooperative Development Institute, the employees came together and became the new owners of the largest worker cooperative in Maine

Today on the News Report we’re talking with some of the people involved in the process, to learn what went on behind-the-scenes, and how this model might be applied in other places to protect small local businesses. Rob Brown, Mark Sprackland, and Allen White, one of the new owners, spoke with us by phone from one of the stores earlier today