Evergreen Cooperatives’ Fund for Employee Ownership Acquires Manufacturer of Custom Wood Crates, LEFCO Worthington LLC
Evergreen Cooperatives, a nonprofit focused on revitalizing urban neighborhoods by preserving jobs that build middle-class wealth, has added to its growing portfolio of employee-owned businesses with the asset purchase of LEFCO Worthington LLC, an industry-leading manufacturer of engineered custom wood crates and heavy-duty skids for international shipping.
The deal represents the fifth transaction by the Fund for Employee Ownership, Evergreen Cooperative’s social impact initiative designed to fund company transitions to employee ownership. LEFCO Worthington manufactures diverse packing product types in the aerospace, defense, equipment manufacturing and general industrial industries in its 30,000 square-foot facility located in Cleveland, OH. The transaction details have not been released.
Founded in 2003, LEFCO Worthington was minority-owned by Larry Fulton who will be using the funds for additional acquisition opportunities and business endeavors in Cleveland. The company currently has 20 employees that will remain with the business as it converts to employee owned.
“LEFCO Worthington, one of the region’s largest wood crating companies, is now in great hands – our employees. Evergreen Cooperatives will turn LEFCO Worthington into an employee-owned business which will continue to provide attractive wage jobs and provide true wealth creation opportunities that can be life changing for its new employee owners. Not only does this acquisition feel good, it is good, both for the business and the community. I’m thrilled to partner with such a fund whose strategic mission supports my beliefs of ethical business, doing good business and being a good business citizen,” said Larry Fulton.
Evergreen Cooperatives will lead the transition to employee ownership with LEFCO’s employees. Evergreen’s Chief Executive Officer, John McMicken says, “We are extremely excited to welcome LEFCO to Evergreen’s portfolio of employee-owned firms. Larry and his team have been wonderful to work with throughout the entire transaction, which has now created a very bright future for these new employee owners.”
On a recent trip to Cleveland to meet with minority-owned business owners like Larry Fulton, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo and Congresswoman Shontel Brown visited LEFCO Worthington to explain the Minority Business Development Agency’s new Capital Readiness Program. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves emphasized this program by saying, “Jumpstarting the next generation of entrepreneurs and ensuring diverse representation in these high-growth industries is essential, not only to spurring innovation, but also to building a more resilient economy that’s reflective of all Americans.”
Launched in 2008 by several Cleveland-based institutions, the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative works to create living-wage jobs in low-to-moderate income communities in and around Cleveland. The Fund for Employee Ownership, an Evergreen initiative, is designed to preserve local jobs, helps employee-owners build wealth and assists small business owners interested in transitioning beyond their current business interests.