The Power of Collaboration: The Ward Lumber Story


Collaboration and cooperation can be incredibly transformative. This panel will feature the story of Ward Lumber, a 130-year-old family business transitioning into the largest employee cooperative in New York’s North Country. The lumber products and hardware store, with two locations, employs more than 50 local people and was owned by Jay Ward’s family for four generations. Ward will continue his leadership role as the company’s CEO. It is also a story about the power of collaboration and what can be achieved when the resources of the federal and state government, the private sector, cooperative development centers, local economic development entities and CDFI lenders are aligned to advance employee ownership in rural communities. It also serves as an example of how an SBA Small Business Development Center can help to facilitate employee ownership in the spirit of the Main Street Employee Ownership Act.

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