A few years ago, while I was in the throes of my recent separation from my husband and dealing with declining sales of my arts and crafts due to the recession, I became involved with a group that was trying to start a few new worker-owned cooperatives in the hopes of providing not only new jobs but green jobs as well.

I’ll admit that I had a selfish reason for getting involved—I was hoping to land whatever new jobs that would be created and I figured that I would land a better chance of getting a paying job if I helped the group out during the early days.

I came up with the idea of starting a thrift store and the group loved it so much that I was tasked with doing the research about starting one. I spoke with people who ran other thrift stores that already existed and found that it was very space-intensive. (You not only need a large space for items that are currently for sale but you also need additional storage space for out-of-season items so you don’t do things like try to sell heavy sweaters in August.) I also volunteered at the group’s booth for the 2014 Greenbelt Green Man Festival and I even made my first appearance in the 2014 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade on that group’s behalf as well.

Basically the thrift store idea fizzled because I found out that finding a large space for an affordable rent in the Washington, DC area is incredibly difficult, especially for a new thrift store. At one point the group suggested that I might try doing a series of weekend flea markets instead. That one was also a struggle because I needed to find suitable land which has adequate parking, suitable Metrobus access (for people who don’t have a car), and is easy to locate. What really killed the flea market idea was learning that I not only had to file a permit with the City of Greenbelt but I also had to file a permit with Prince George’s County as well. That’s right, two different types of paperwork at two levels of government. I finally just threw my hands up in the air and walked away.

Recently I got an email from the group saying that a reporter was doing a story about our efforts to start a bunch of worker-owned cooperatives. I had the reporter interview me by email. The story has just been published in In These Times magazine recently but a number of the interviews she did had to be cut because of space limitations in the print edition, including mine.

Even though my interview got cut, I’m going to provide the link to the web edition, which is online now.

The reporter sent another email recently where she mentioned the possibility of doing follow-up stories using the interview footage that was cut from the original story. If that happens, and if my interview actually gets used, I’ll definitely let you know.

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