This weekend we were honored to attend a ceremony celebrating Greensaw's transformation into an employee-owned co-op. The idea is this: the good folks who work for Greensaw will now own a stake in the company. It marks the first such arrangement in Philadelphia in a long time. I don't think I fully appreciated the concept until I heard Judy Wicks talk about how increasing ownership is a vehicle for sharing wealth and resources. Her article "Local Living Economies - The New Movement for Responsible Business" offers a good introduction to the socially responsible business movement. And it was John Abrams'
"The Companies We Keep" that inspired the notion in the first place. Imagine where you work. Now imagine yourself and your co-workers as shareholders. The very idea feels revolutionary and audacious, and also exactly what our economy needs. True to form, Brendan organized a bang up party with homemade venison stew, charcuterie on salvaged wood cutting boards, home brewed beer, and a feast of Armenian delicacies contributed by one of the owner's mothers. The ceremony culminated with Brendan calling up each employee to the rustic stage-- from furniture maker to finisher-- to sign the company's guiding principles as the crowd cheered and applauded. And then I teared up. It felt, in the best and most unexpected way, like a wedding. Greensaw's beautiful work speaks for itself so please check it out, and read about the co-op process on their blog. It's been a joy to observe Greensaw grow over these last five years and I can't wait to see what their future holds.