Launching the First Cooperatives


“The Evergreen Cooperative Laundry was the first business launched in October of 2009. The laundry currently employs 21 people, and provides an affordable, water efficient green laundry service for local institutions. Initial capitalization proved challenging because the banks were at first hesitant to fund startups. The City’s Economic Development Department stepped in to provide the Laundry access to a long-term, low-interest federal loan and help structuring an innovative $5 million New Market Tax Credit deal. The strong finance background of City staff and the support the Laundry had from anchor institutions and the Cleveland Foundation were instrumental in getting the project off the ground in spite of the difficult credit situation.

Funding allowed the cooperative to invest in state-of-the-art washers, which require only 0.8 gallons of water per pound of laundry compared to the industry standard of 3 gallons. In conjunction with energy conservation measures installed to reduce heat used for water, dryers and ironing, the facility was also able to achieve LEED silver certification. As they bring on new clients, the laundry expects to expand to 50 workers.”
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Part of Solution

  • Building Community Wealth through Worker-Owned Businesses

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    Organisations Involved