Evergreen Laundry

An intriguing new green jobs and employee engagement project is under development in the University Circle neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Evergreen Cooperative Laundry is an innovative economic development initiative that combines private investment, New Market Tax Credits, and philanthropic support in an effort to build long-lasting community assets in an area that has been hard-hit by joblessness and poverty, while simultaneously helping to “green” the health care industry.

Evergreen Cooperative Laundry will be employee owned and is slated to open for business this winter in a Cleveland empowerment zone. Hiring will start at twenty-five jobs, with plans to add twenty five more as the company grows.

The laundry will service a nearby retirement home, hotel, and area hospitals, using money-saving solar hot water heaters and high efficiency machines. In addition to providing asset-building opportunities for employees through their equity stake in the company, ten percent of earnings will fund future sister enterprises. Planned employee owned businesses in the network will include a solar installation cooperative and a commercial greenhouse.

Employees will be trained in basic job skills, environmental procedures, equipment operations, and what it means to be an owner in the cooperative. As Bob Eckardt of the Cleveland Foundation notes, “Employee ownership is an excellent tool…to generate jobs, anchor capital within neighborhoods, promote asset accumulation, and build viable economic enterprises.” Learn more at http://www.evergreencoop.com/