Atty. Deb Olson developed and will moderated a panel at which founders and leaders of two very different social enterprises discuss what they have done and are doing to ensure that the successful social enterprises they built, Carris Reels and Zingerman's, will remain both successful businesses and social enterprises when their successors run the business. The panel will be April 9, 2014, at t the upcoming National Center for Employee Ownership annual conference in Atlanta, GA.
Carris Reels, a company with 715 employees and 15 plants in 8 states, also known as the "Carris Corporate Community" is a manufacturer of all types of reels, headquartered in Rutland, VT. The business succession transition for Carris Reels started in 1993, when Bill Carris began to sell his family's interest in the company to their employees through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Carris Reels is now owned 100% by the ESOP.
Zingerman's, a business with 600 employees, best known for its world renowned deli in Ann Arbor, is actually a group of 8 (soon to be 9) cooperating businesses known as the "Zingerman's Community of Businesses", which was started by 2 partners, Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw. It is now run by a group of 18 partners who manage the various businesses and make policy for the whole group. All the partners began as Zingerman's employees, and developed their Zingerman's businesses through the "Path to Partnership" with help from the founders. The partners group is now working through a business succession plan with the founding partners. While the exact form it will take is not yet determined, the group is interested in creating a co-op style of particpative worker ownership. Ron Mauer chairs the Zingerman's partners group.