Ward Lumber now in employees' hands

May, 2021

JAY — Popular hardware and building supplies store Ward Lumber, a family business rooted in upstate New York since 1890, is now a worker-owned cooperative. 

The lumber store's 50 or so employees recently purchased the 130-year-old business and officials are calling it the first transition of its kind in the North Country region. 

"Employee ownership vests the control of the company in the hands of the people that work it every day, who live in the communities that we serve and have that vested interest in ownership," Jay Ward, fourth generation Ward Lumber owner, said, noting he chose this route over liquidation or selling to another business. 

"I really wanted to empower the employee team to make decisions on their behalf and for their benefit."

Ward, who said the transition was three years in the making, would remain involved in operating the business as its CEO for the foreseeable future. 

"The main thing that's changing is I'll be reporting to a board of directors of our employee team." 

Read the full article in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican