Watch how the owner, workers, and community as a whole benefit when a business becomes a worker-owned cooperative in this story about Rock City Roasters and Cafe. 

In the Northeast, we are facing a Silver Tsunami of retiring small business owners. As in many regions, small business owners are the backbone of our economy and many are nearing retirement age. Most don’t have a succession plan, and if they are unable to find a buyer for the business, or if the next generation of the family is uninterested or unable to take it over, closing the business becomes the all-too-common last resort. When that happens, communities lose businesses that were once the bedrock of their local economies, workers lose their jobs, and communities lose taxable revenue that supports local schools, public safety, and infrastructure.

Young Mainers shouldn’t have to leave the state to find good work. This story about Insource Renewables shows how worker-owned cooperatives help keep jobs in our communities.

At CDI, we know that assisting businesses in converting to employee ownership is a powerful tool in combating the effects of the Silver Tsunami. CDI works with owners, employees, and lenders, such as the Cooperative Fund of New England, to facilitate the transfer of ownership of the business to the workers directly. CDI’s Business Ownership Solutions staff then continues to provide our technical assistance and expertise to the employees to ensure that the conversion is successful.

It’s a win-win for everyone. The small business entrepreneur is financially rewarded for a lifetime of hard work and perseverance while preserving the legacy of the business. Jobs are more than saved as employees now have a direct stake in the success of the business they now own. Communities benefit as businesses are preserved and continue to contribute to the economic vibrancy of the town.

Worker ownership works for everyone. To find out more, please contact Rob Brown, Director of CDI’s Business Ownership Solutions program at

Worker Ownership Works for Everyone: Telling Our Story