Making a case for co-ops: how the rarely-taught business model is gaining traction in Bellingham

Rick Dubrow first considered turning his company into a worker-owned cooperative in 2007. He felt it would be the right thing to do for his long-time employees and for the long-term health of his business, a Bellingham remodeling company called A-1 Builders. More owners—more people with “skin in the game”—would make for a stronger company, Dubrow reasoned.

He put the idea on hold when the recession hit. But now, Dubrow, 64, is looking toward retirement and once again taking up the process of converting his business into a worker-owned cooperative. He hopes to complete the process in the next couple years but it could happen in as soon as three months, he said.