The Island Employee Cooperative (IEC) in Stonington, Maine has just celebrated its fifth year of operation. CDI’s Rob Brown, Director of Business Ownership Solutions, was part of the team that provided the technical assistance for the employees and the seller to convert three local businesses to an employee owned cooperative. Converted in 2014, the IEC is the second largest worker cooperative In New England. The Cooperative owns Burnt Cove Market and V&S Variety in Stonington and The Galley Market in Deer Isle.
The IEC has come a long way since its founding. BOS’ Marcel Gagne and Rob Brown have continued to assist the Co-op with board training, member engagement and business development and the Co-op is poised to have their best year yet. As with all things worth doing, challenges and hurdles had to be overcome and they are stronger than ever.
“There have certainly been some challenges,” said Les Weed, Board member of the Co-op. “When we started this thing five years ago, it was something none of us knew much about. We’ve sort of been learning as we go.” CDI’s Business Ownership Solutions program has been with them every step of the way.
“The IEC is one of the largest employers on the island, and in addition to keeping the three businesses going strong under local control, and securing local jobs, the IEC serves the remote island community and ensures access to basic grocery and hardware needs,” said Brown.