Happy Co-op Month in the International Year of the CoOp. This week, NoBAWC (The Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives, pronounced "no boss) coordinated an informational flyer in the East Bay Express , a newsweekly with a broad local readership. I was excited to have Box Dog Bikes sponsor this dual informational and advertisement because I know that there are many people just like you who could one day take part in shared ownership or democratic decision making, and this insert could provide you with much to inform your life decisions. You may have found yourself on this web page simply for that reason, or you may find yourself here because you are a regular reader of our blog. In either case I'd like to share a little bit with you about why I love my coop.
Box Dog Bikes started 8 years ago with a strong "Do It Yourself" ethic, and though we no longer have our public diy bench this ethic is still with us. It has taken me to learning, sharing and encouraging effective group work.
Group culture has been an important focus of what I've learned from Box Dog Bikes in the past eight years. Group culture can arrive by default and group culture can evolve with stimulus. Group culture changes and fluctuates with the people who are a part of it, for sure, but it also changes at a slower pace than the folks within the group. In a cooperative setting the culture is often one which is chosen and debated, because cooperatives require that workers share in the decisions, the risks and the rewards.
Our culture has been humorous, hardworking, conflicted, curious, supportive and creative. For it to excel any culture needs to have stimulation, agitation and healthy debate. As a group, Box Dog Bikes meets twice monthly to discuss the operations of the business and make action plans to meet our goals. We also meet through out the month as small groups to share ideas, update one another with projects, and teach each other new skills. I recently met with two of our newer workers to discuss evaluations and giving and receiving criticism. It was wonderful to share this information, and equally exciting to know that this meting will help to encourage our culture of reflection, criticism and praise.
Many folks who've worked at Box Dog Bikes have taken their own dreams and made them a reality. This is inspiring to be surrounded by, and inspiring to know that I am also a part of it.
If you haven't seen it yet, you should seek out this week's East Bay Express for the informational pamphlet on worker coops. It could help lead you down roads you've always wished you could go. And if you are just finding out about Box Dog Bike because of this insert, please take some time to check out our website, look through the archives of our blog, and come by our store. I think you will also find something of value here.