This June, the doors will open at the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, a state-of-the-art, nearly $6 million facility in Cleveland, Ohio.
What’s so special about this laundry? In a word, ownership. The business will be 100 percent owned by its 50 employees, virtually all of whom live in the surrounding community. Life is tough in this neighborhood, where the poverty rate exceeded 30 percent and thousands of homes lay stripped and abandoned even before the current recession began.
In the midst of this urban distress, the Evergreen Laundry employee-owners will earn a living wage and health benefits. As members of the co-op, they will enjoy greater job security than workers at more traditional businesses, and, after seven years on the job, they will have built an ownership stake of as much as $65,000.
The laundry is the flagship of a wider network of Evergreen Cooperative businesses, part of an effort to transform the quality of life for Cleveland’s low- and moderate-income residents.