Well, that something got superseded pretty quickly, now that Four Barrel has announced plans to become a 100-percent worker-owned cooperative called The Tide. With clients dropping the 10-year-old roaster en masse, the company’s two remaining owners — Jodi Geren and Tal Mor — held a pow-wow with Tooker over the weekend, and persuaded him to give up his 50-percent stake in the company.
In an apologetic letter, Geren and Mor say they should have asked Tooker to resign entirely two months ago. Staring down the end of Four Barrel altogether, they decided to give Tooker’s share of the company to their employees — but that’s just a temporary arrangement while they exit the stage themselves. Check this out (emphasis ours):
Moving forward, as we stabilize the business as peer-owners and diversify our staff’s skills to fully manage the company, well make increasing shares available from our own remaining ownership, until we’ve completely divested from the business and the new entity is 100% employee-owned.
We’ll engage a consultant to advise on how to best build a collaborative, equal, and inclusive business between all employee-owners. We want nothing more than to empower true change and example in the workplace. We care so deeply about our community, our customers, our neighbors, and the producers we support over the world.
Geren and Mor close by imploring customers and clients to patronize The Tide. Now that is how you make things right.
The underlying idea here is that “Four Barrel died,” and, faced with a boycott that was going to take down everybody — Tooker, his co-owners, and the employees — Geren and Mor wisely ascertained that there was no way to save themselves. So they saved what they had built, and decided to turn it over to the people who faced the greatest economic risk when the company inevitably failed, as it no doubt would have.
If you’ve ever felt a little queasy about boycotts because they pay insufficient heed to collateral damage, this is the outcome that future boycotts should demand. In one fell swoop, The Tide has struck a blow against toxic patriarchy and the outmoded ownership model of capitalism at once.