Bed-Stuy Fresh & Local Converting to Worker Co-op

Becoming a cooperatively owned enterprise rather than a traditional, privately owned one was something Sheila and Dylan had contemplated for their new generation mom and pop grocery when it was initially launched.  However, they quickly ran into the usual startup financing obstacles.  “No bank would fund us even though we had perfect credit and a good business plan,” Sheila reports, “They were uncomfortable lending into gentrifying areas, let alone to a cooperative.” The two ended up raising the needed funds through an Indiegogo campaign, from friends and family, and by assuming personal debt.

But their dream of cooperative ownership for the store was rekindled last year when they began attending a free, 12-week cooperative-ownership workshop co-sponsored by The Working World and The Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation.  They eagerly shared what they were learning with two of their employees: Jules, who had previous experience as a cafe owner, and Christina Thomas, who had started out as an intern through a not-for-profit youth employment organization called Exalt. ​

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