For many years Patty Pan was a sole proprietorship, a business that was owned and managed by one person. Business was good and employees were reasonably happy, but the company could only go so far as a sole proprietorship.
Market work is hard and it takes commitment. You get better at it over time. But even for dedicated employees, it was hard to think of seasonal foodservice work as a career path. So Patty Pan became a worker-owned cooperative, or a business that is collectively owned.
A cooperative is a living, breathing organism, one that is always growing and changing. Each cooperative enterprise is a unique experiment in workplace democracy, one that challenges its members to find the best in themselves, and in each other. We're learning more every day about how to keep our cooperative happy and healthy, and the process makes our work lives more interesting and engaging.
If you're interested in worker cooperatives, here are some wonderful resources:
US Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Democracy at Work Institute
Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund
Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives