Dansko was founded in 1990 by Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup after finding inspiration for their signature clogs on a trip to Europe. Based in West Grove, PA, this comfort footwear company sets the standard for excellent shoes for people who demand quality and comfort. Dansko employs more than 150 people and is 100% employee owned.
“This transition to 100% employee ownership marks the continuation of Dansko’s commitment to its employees, its community, and its values.”
“Through our employees, Dansko will learn, evolve, and regenerate itself virtually forever, ensuring that we are able to deliver our brand promise today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.”
-Mandy Cabot, co-founder and CEO
Serving up hoagies, gasoline, and morning coffee, Wawa is one of the most well-known brands on the East Coast. Headquartered in Wawa, PA, the convenience store chain has 600+ locations in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and had revenues of 9.1 billion in 2016. 13,000 Wawa employees participate in the ESOP that owns 40% of the company.
“Having our employees as owners gives us a competitive advantage by contributing to Wawa’s growth. Think about owning your own home versus renting. Owners devote time and energy to making their home a better place. They put their heart and soul into it. This is very similar because our team members want to be affiliated with a company that is growing and one where they are rewarded for their dedication.”
-Chris Gheysens, CEO
Voodoo Brewery is a quirky brewery headquartered in Meadville, PA. When Voodoo transitioned to an ESOP in 2016, they became one of the smallest employee owned companies in the country with only 17 employees. In the following two years, Voodoo grew to more than 80 employees and opened 5 new pub locations. Voodoo Brewery says their increased employee engagement has played a crucial role in the growth and expansion.
“It’s not a sense of ownership, it’s genuine ownership – the employees have a completely different mentality. Employee rollover is essentially non-existent. We’ve got career chefs, career cooks, career bartenders.”
– Matteo Rachocki, CEO
Pin Up Posters Courier Collective
Pin Up Posters Courier Collective is a worker-owned, bike-based poster distribution service for cultural and community events in the city of Pittsburgh. This worker cooperative was incorporated in 2011 and is made up of five co-owners who distribute flyers for a variety of clients, from museums to individuals. They believe in the autonomy that a worker cooperative provides members and that as a business model worker cooperatives strengthen communities, the local economy, and workers.
“Having a personal investment in your work is really important for longevity. Turnover at low-wage, hierarchical jobs is so high because people don’t care about their work and they’re not given a reason to care.”
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Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership