Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Richard Pacelle, professor of political science at the University of Tennessee, to find some answers.
When residents of Cummington, Mass., and the surrounding towns heard that the owners of The Old Creamery Grocery wanted to sell the business, they got together and came up with a plan to keep the Creamery open and thriving. After convening an exploratory committee, 550 area residents came together to purchase the business and run it as a cooperative.
Cooperatives, sometimes called co-ops, are businesses or organizations owned or managed by those who use its facilities or services.
The member-owners spent $1.3 million on the business. They are planning a 20 percent expansion of the facilities, mainly to increase kitchen space. All of the 26 current employees will remain in their jobs. The Creamery Cooperative will continue to sell groceries and deli goods as well as their homemade ice cream. The building first opened in 1886 as a dairy farmer’s processing plant, and 80 years ago it was purchased and turned into a general store and gas station.