Green City Growers acquired by Local Roots Cleveland
The Evergreen Cooperative Corporation (ECC) and Green City Growers (GCG) boards recently sold GCG to Local Roots Cleveland, a company headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind. The GCG board, comprised of employee-owners and independent board consultants, voted to approve this transaction, and Local Roots Cleveland assumed ownership on May 19, 2022. Local Roots has offered jobs to all 12 GCG employees and expects to at least double the workforce by year-end.
The employee-owner model made Green City Growers successful for many years, but selling the business at this moment was the best long-term business decision for ECC, GCG and its employee-owners. Cancelled contracts and staffing issues due to COVID made the GCG business model unsustainable for ECC, while staffing challenges have been compounded by competition for talent with the growing cannabis industry in Ohio. Local Roots Cleveland has the investors and capital to compete in today’s tough produce market.
This transaction allowed GCG to negotiate all its debt obligations to obtain a full release from debt holders. It will also refund all shares purchased by GCG employee-owners over the years – at 100% full value. Turning the operation over to a very capable buyer will sustain operations and expand employment in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood, while enabling Evergreen to focus its resources on growth through the Fund for Employee Ownership.
Evergreen remains committed to the employee ownership model as a win-win for company performance in the right industries and for inclusive economic development in communities.