Call for Worker-Owners
Firestorm Books & Coffee is planning a significant expansion of our community bookstore in 2018, and we’re looking for fabulous individuals who want to join our co-op and help realize this new vision!
As a worker-owned co-operative, Firestorm is not seeking “employees,” but worker-owners: future co-owners of the business who both participate in daily retail operations and possess the managerial skills to help the co-op achieve growth. Additionally, as a community-supported, horizontally-organized collective with anarchist roots, Firestorm seeks future co-owners who have affinity with our collective model and commitment to liberatory social movement.
This position is ideally-suited for those seeking full-time work in a long-term capacity, as consistent involvement of worker-owners is necessary for the project’s ongoing sustainability.
If you share Firestorm’s mission and values, have retail and management experience, and think that co-owning a radical bookstore sounds like a dream come true, we want to hear from you!
Have you always dreamed of owning a bookstore, but never had the cash to start one?
Most people who dream about owning an indie bookstore are never able to do so because of the high upfront costs and financial risk associated with starting a small business. If this describes you, worker-ownership at Firestorm presents a unique opportunity: to rapidly gain equitable ownership in a well-established local business with demonstrated growth potential operating in a prime retail location. People join our team as “prospective members” of the cooperative and become eligible for co-ownership after as little as six months.
Do you have experience with customer service in a retail setting?
Firestorm is a specialty retail store, so customer service is an essential component of our work. We are seeking individuals who love meeting new people, cultivating relationships, and solving problems. A good candidate has prior retail experience, extensive knowledge of the book industry (or the motivation and confidence to quickly acquire it), strong communication skills, effective time management, and a willingness to learn and maintain systems.
Firestorm is also a thriving space of encounter for people and a home base for grassroots projects and nonprofits working to transform society. As such, applicants should be able to engage respectfully with people from all walks of life who visit our space for a variety of reasons.
Do you have grassroots, non-profit, or business management experience?
As a collective, Firestorm depends on each member to effectively oversee their own work and take responsibility for the health and performance of the co-operative. a portion of said profits (or “patronage”)Applicants should have managerial experience that demonstrates ability to take initiative, develop plans with others, and exercise leadership to bring a shared vision to fruition. Beyond simply performing discrete tasks, worker-owners must be holistic in their thinking and collaborative in their approach.
The role of a worker-owner is multi-faceted, and in its fullness involves evaluating and improving systems, identifying and taking advantage of business development opportunities, and increasing the visibility and connectedness of our project. Duties include, but are not limited to:
Book retailing tasks
- Customer engagement
- Inventory processing and management (arrivals, returns, etc)
- Maintaining neat and visually pleasing sales floor
- Building and maintaining displays
- Book and sideline buying
- Planning and coordination of author events
- Developing community and institutional partnerships
- Sales analysis and budgeting
Co-ownership & collective membership
- Financial planning
- Attendance at and facilitation of Collective meetings
- Facilities maintenance
Please be sure to tell us if you have any of the following skills or experiences:
- Two or more years of bookstore work
- Familiarity with QuickBooks or other accounting software
- Familiarity with Edelweiss, TS360, iPage and other specialized book retailing software
- Talent for retail display and window creation
- Experience running membership programs
- Experience organizing community events
- Experience with consensus decision-making and collective work environments
- Proficiency with graphic design, Html, and CSS
- Fluency in Spanish
All full-time members of our co-op are currently paid $13,000/year with two weeks paid time off and company funded vision insurance. Future salary increases are pegged to sales growth. In the event that the cooperative generates a profit in excess of what is required for sustainability, a portion of said profit is equitably distributed amongst all owners (i.e. “patronage”).
About Our Co-operative
Firestorm is an ten-year old worker co-operative with roots in Asheville’s activist, anarchist and queer communities. We operate without a boss or general manager and work together as a collective, making decisions using consensus process. Our business operates with a goal of generating value for its workers and its community rather than accruing “profit” in the traditional sense.
Over the course of six to nine months, a prospective member will become intimately familiar with our co-op, developing the skills and experience necessary to act as an owner. We are currently transitioning to a staff of four full-time worker-owners, and as new prospective members step into ownership roles, existing owners will step away to make space for fresh leadership. A full explanation of the prospective membership process can be found here.
Our collective is a majority femme and queer project that centers anti-oppression work both within our co-op and in our community. Individuals from traditionally-marginalized communities strongly encouraged to apply.
This job begins April 1st, 2018. For consideration, please submit resume and a cover letter describing why you would be a good fit for this position to firstname.lastname@example.org. Resumes with no cover letter will not be considered.