A worker-owned co-op cafe opens in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As more cafes turn to unionization to address poor working conditions and pay, new companies are looking to keep decision-making in the hands of their staff. This includes Old Louisville Coffee Co-op, a worker-owned cafe that opened on June 29.

What do you want to know

  • Old Louisville Coffee Co-op is at 316 W Ormsby Avenue
  • The company is fully worker-owned
  • It is intended as an all-inclusive space
  • The shop offers an extensive menu of coffees and food

The company has five co-owners who have been working on their Ormsby Avenue building since March. Being a worker co-op means every member has an equal say in decisions, a majority vote decides what’s right or wrong. There are no outside investors in control.

Co-owner America Medious stands behind the bar at the Old Louisville Coffee Co-op. (Spectrum News 1/Mason Brighton)

“Everyone is like waking up like we don’t really need to ask permission, like enough of us decide we want to do something the way we can do it, and like your community is going to support you” , America Medious, one of the store’s co-owners said.

Medious spent years as a barista and even helped run a store in Louisville. But they had to quit and find another job to take care of their new child.

All the co-owners come from the coffee world. They want this place to be inclusive for everyone.

“We just want people to feel accepted here, like we are to varying degrees of marginalization,” Medious said. “Who better to create a welcoming environment for everyone than people who didn’t feel welcome?”

What kept the band going, even after plans were pushed back, was the amount of support and love they received. Both from people online and from the neighborhood.

“I was talking to someone in the neighborhood and I was like ‘I’m America, my friends and I are opening a cafe on the corner of Ormsby’ and the response was ‘Oh, I know,'” Medious said. .

The Old Louisville Coffee Co-op held its grand opening on Wednesday, June 29 at 316 Ormsby Avenue.