Zingerman’s Deli co-founders Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw don’t consider themselves traditional business owners.
The duo, who opened the Kerrytown deli in 1982, want to transition Zingerman’s Community of Businesses and its network of nine businesses into a worker cooperative, Business Insider reports.
A worker cooperative is a business that is owned and controlled by the people who work for it.
According to the report, Zingerman’s, which is predicted to rake in $50 million this fiscal year, wants to give its 600-plus employees an ownership stake in the company to help workers make influential decisions.
“I’ll have to figure out every detail, half of which will be wrong and will be changed within the next year to three years, but we’ve got to start somewhere,” Weinzweig told Business Insider.
The Zingerman’s co-founders have displayed strong support for low-wage workers in their effort to lobby for an increase in the minimum wage. The company also operates with open-book management, where all business meetings are open to every Zingerman’s employee. The company has 15 partners besides Weinzweig and Saginaw, and those partners act as managers of the various businesses.
Weinzweig said he wants to give Zingerman’s employees the opportunity to better influence the direction of the company. The goal is to implement the worker cooperative plan in 2015. By 2020, Weinzweig said he hopes all of Zingerman’s businesses are managed by partners and owned and partially controlled by employees.
Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for The Ann Arbor News. Reach her at 734-255-2638, email her email@example.com or follow her on Twitter.
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