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Evergreen Cooperative Laundry Expands to Second Plant, More than Tripling Its Workforce

A man wearing scrubs and a hairnet operates industrial laundry machinery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Evergreen Cooperative Laundry Expands to Second Plant, More than Tripling Its Workforce

Cleveland Clinic-owned facility in Collinwood now operated by Evergreen

CLEVELAND, OHIO — MAY 10, 2018 Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL) announced a major expansion today in collaboration with Ohio’s second largest employer, taking over management of the Cleveland Clinic’s laundry facility in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood. This additional location complements ECL’s original facility in Glenville. The expansion brings more than 100 new employees into the company, joining the 50 workers employed at the original laundry.

Celebrating this milestone for the workers at this employee-owned business, a proclamation from the City of Cleveland was delivered, highlighting the collaboration between ECL and Cleveland Clinic that will help strengthen and support the vitality of the local economy. “The City of Cleveland welcomes the opportunity for all businesses—new or well established—to participate and grow in our community,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Investments from employee-owned companies like Evergreen Cooperative Laundry help create more wealth for people in our neighborhoods while making our city an even more desirable place to live, work, play and do business.”

ECL is part of the Evergreen Cooperatives, a nationally celebrated network of companies in Cleveland, Ohio, that creates jobs and builds community wealth through cooperative business ownership. These businesses are located in historically disinvested neighborhoods. For Brett Jones, Executive Vice President at the Evergreen Cooperatives, “this expansion validates the core idea at the heart of the Evergreen model—that businesses owned by workers can succeed and thrive in the market, helping close the wealth gap.”

To create jobs and build wealth, ECL and the other Evergreen Cooperatives leverage the purchasing power of “anchor institutions”—large non-profit economic engines like hospitals and universities with a commitment to mission and place. The Collinwood laundry facility is now owned by Cleveland Clinic, one of the leading hospitals in the United States, and services the health system. By shifting the contract for the operations of this facility to ECL, Cleveland Clinic is using its economic resources—in this case, where it services more than 19 million lbs of its laundry each year—to build a stronger local economy.

Ralph Turner, executive director of patient support services at Cleveland Clinic, said “We are proud of this new collaboration with Evergreen Cooperatives because of the impact it will have on the local community. We see this as an important step we can take to support the health and wellbeing of our neighbors, including the ECL employees.”

Employee-owned businesses like Evergreen Cooperatives are a key strategy for building community wealth. According to Jessica Rose, Director of Employee Ownership Programs at The Democracy Collaborative, “When a business is owned by its employees it benefits because workers are more invested in its success. Those employees and their families benefit because they share in profits and decision-making, and the whole community benefits because employee-owned businesses promote economic stability by staying local.” 

For the worker-owners of ECL, investing in this expansion is a true milestone. For Greg Bosl of ECL, “I have been here since 2010 and I have seen our company go from only 5 customers to where we are today. As a worker-owner I know what I do every day as an employee impacts our business. I am proud to see what we have accomplished as a worker-owned cooperative.” Their new co-workers at the Collinwood plant will be offered an accelerated path to worker-ownership. According to Collinwood worker Olga Jebbison, “This is a great opportunity to work for a laundry that offers the benefit of becoming a worker-owner within 6 months. I am so excited!”

ECL, the first of the Evergreen Cooperatives, launched in 2009, with the support of the Cleveland Foundation and other local stakeholders. Today, the Cooperatives employ a total of 220 workers and have inspired similar projects connecting anchor purchasing to local community wealth building across the United States and beyond.

For more information on Evergreen, please visit http://www.evgoh.com/.

CONTACTS

National media: John Duda, Director of Communications, The Democracy Collaborative, (202) 559-1473 x102 press@democracycollaborative.org

Cleveland/local: Janet Walkuski, jwalkuski1@gmail.com

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