San Francisco Bay Area
Long-standing Worker Co-op Community in a Thriving Multi-City Region
The San Francisco Bay Area is a nine-county region comprising dozens of cities of all sizes, resource levels, governance models, and economic drivers. In the midst of a tech industry boom, the Bay Area is undergoing intense gentrification, with displacement reaching crisis levels as low-wage workers and people of color move out to far-flung suburbs. The area is also home to a large progressive community, diverse nonprofit and social enterprise sectors, and many values-driven capital providers.
The Bay Area has the most worker cooperatives of any metropolitan area in the United States, and many are several decades old. Almost one-third of the largest worker co-ops (with more than 50 employees) in the country are here. The tight-knit co-op community has substantial capital assets and an experienced workforce that shares best practices. More than one-third of these businesses are in retail, enhancing co-ops’ public profile, and a similar percent are in the food industry, providing ample opportunity to do business with each other. Some of the older co-ops have spun off new cooperatives, providing technical assistance and financing. There are also several pioneering worker co-op developers, a local network of worker co-ops, and a healthy appetite for innovation and scale.