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Our Co-ops

The Healing Grounds

Start-up worker cooperative

2022 Non-Extractive Loan

Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 Cooperative Academy Graduate

The Healing Grounds Cooperative is a worker cooperative cafe & community space dedicated to the health, advancement and well being of the community. The Healing Grounds envisions a community safe haven for the Black, Brown and “everybody down," creating opportunities for community members to inspire one another to heal through the arts, metaphysics, holistic products and ideas; by promoting collective consciousness, to aid in the creation of long term sustainable equity in the local community. This startup loan financed costs related to the opening and operation of the cafe and community space, including equipment, renovations, and ramping up the business to breakeven.

Read more:

Buffalo Rising: The Healing Grounds Café and Sanctuary

WKBW: New co-op brings healing and community to Grant Street

The Healing Grounds Facebook

Mondragon Village Association

Conversion to real estate investment cooperative

2022 Non-Extractive Loan

Fall 2021 Cooperative Academy Graduate

Mondragon Village Association (MVA) was formed in 2014 by Dr. Curtis Haynes, Jr., who attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, wrote his dissertation on the intersection of cooperative economics and Black political economy in 1993, and teaches in the Economics department at Buffalo State College. He has been a longtime champion of cooperative movements in Buffalo and is a former City Common Council Member. In recent years, Dr. Haynes has been nurturing a collective of community members interested in practical applications of cooperation, and Mondragon Village Association's conversion into a real estate co-op is the first of such ventures. The real estate co-op, which owns one 3-unit property, is part of a broader educational and entrepreneurial project led by Conscious Investment Group's "Leadership Academy." The long-term vision for the Academy is a "nexus of cooperatives and cooperating institutions" including the real estate co-op, a co-op investment vehicle owned by and for Black cooperators in Buffalo, and worker co-ops which will be tenants of commercial units in an expanded real estate cooperative.

Read more:

Conscious Investment Group Website

Anyone's Cafe & Bakery

Start-up worker cooperative

2021 and 2022 Non-Extractive Loans

Fall 2022 Cooperative Academy Graduate

A team of skilled professionals who were fired from a cafe that abruptly closed have formed a team to start up a new vegan bakery and cafe cooperative. This start-up loan was to purchase the equipment necessary for launch from their previous employer, as well as to cover initial startup costs of the new co-op including a salary runway, fixed expenses to break even, and initial inventory.

Read more:

Rochester Beacon: Serving vegan food and the community

Anyone's Cafe & Bakery Instagram

Anyone's Cafe & Bakery Website

Rose Garden Early Childhood Center

Conversion to worker cooperative

2017 Non-Extractive Loan

The Rose Garden is a LifeWays representative Waldorf-inspired private child care center, which emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to integrate holistically the intellectual, practical, and artistic development of children. After 8 years, the founding owner Judith Frizlen decided to retire and came to Cooperation Buffalo for help selling the business to its workers. Quality child care is in very high demand in Buffalo, and is core to supporting newly expanding professional industries. The child care sector, however, is in rough shape, suffering from high worker turnover, low wage ceilings, and high levels of burnout among workers. Putting childcare workers in control of their workplace and in control of their surplus business income can go a long way to stabilizing the sector and creating good jobs.

Read more:

NPR Marketplace: How a Buffalo child care center saved itself by closing temporarily

Buffalo Rising: Rose Garden transitions into Worker Cooperative

Lifeways: The Rose Garden becomes a worker-owned cooperative

Rose Garden: The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

Becoming Employee Owned: The Rose Garden

Rose Jade Consulting

Start-up worker cooperative

Fall 2022 Cooperative Academy Graduate

Rose Jade Consulting is a cooperatively run movement, small business and nonprofit consultancy firm rooted in feminist and anti-oppression values, practice and vision. Rose Jade serves as a resource for social justice movement organizations, organized labor unions, progressively minded political candidates, individuals and/or businesses looking to deepen their commitment to building the just world that we all need.

Read more:

Rose Jade Consulting Website

Extra Extra

Start-up worker cooperative

Fall 2021 and Fall 2020 Cooperative Academy Graduate

Putting people first! Buffalo's first cooperatively owned pizza shop and wine bar on West Utica in Buffalo, NY is slated to open in 2022. The two founding worker-owners attended Cooperation Buffalo's Fall 2020 Cooperative Academy, and the co-op's third worker-owner attended the following year's Academy.

Read more:

Buffalo Rising: Extra Extra! Pizza and Wine Cooperative Comes to Five Points

Buffalo News: Worker-owned restaurant focused on pizza, wine coming to Five Points neighborhood

Buffalo Business First: New Buffalo pizzeria to offer investors a piece of the pie

Extra Extra Website

Pure Vibes

Conversion to worker cooperative

Fall 2020 Cooperative Academy Graduate

Tiffany Snow Wesley created Pure Vibes in 2017 in University City, MO to create natural products that were gluten-free to help her live and feel well with polycystic ovarian syndrome. During the 2020 pandemic, she realized that everyone was searching for Pure Vibes to have a sense of community, togetherness and create equity and ownership in spaces where it simply wouldn't exist. Tiffany knew that her good friend Demetrius Neal would rise to the occasion through his ideology to "Live, Motivate and Inspire." Pure Vibes transitioned into a worker-owned cooperative and the company now boasts 4 worker-owners. Tiffany and Demetrius attended Cooperation Buffalo's virtual Fall 2020 Cooperative Academy.

Read more:

Minority- and women-owned businesses support each other at City Foundry

Introducing Pure Vibes, University City’s newest skincare shop

Oh, It's HERStory: 7 Black Women Making History In The Beauty Space

Forbes The Next 1000: Tiffany Wesley, Founder, Pure Vibes

Pure Vibes Website

Long Island Farmworker Cooperative

Start-up worker cooperative

Fall 2020 Cooperative Academy Graduate

This farmworker-owned flower cooperative is based in Long Island, NY. The cooperative's main focus is to sell flowers grown on the East End of Long Island with the goal of eventually growing and cultivating their own flowers. Organizers and workers attended Cooperation Buffalo's virtual Fall 2020 Cooperative Academy to support their business planning and launch.

Read more:

Long Island farmworker cooperative opens flower market in Riverhead

Western New York Technology Collaborative

Start-up worker cooperative

Fall 2019 Cooperative Academy Graduate

WNY Technology Collaborative is a worker-owned, democratically managed IT Services company, that focuses on server hosting, free and open source software solutions, and socially just solutions. Founding worker-owner Corey Reichle attended Cooperation Buffalo's first Cooperative Academy training program in 2019 to support the launch of this new worker-owned business.

Read more:

WNY Technology Collaborative Website

Cooperatives in Western New York

Click here for a map of currently operating cooperative businesses in Buffalo, Rochester, and Western New York including worker-owned cooperatives, consumer-owned cooperatives, housing co-ops, credit unions, and producer cooperatives. If you have additions or edits, please contact us to let us know!

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