With more typical options like family, closing, or selling to a big box retailer off the table, Ward had to get creative.
The answer turned out to be right in front of him all along: Ward Lumber’s employees.
People like Alex Pond, a life-long resident of Malone who has been working at Ward Lumber’s location in that town for almost seven years.
“Jay came to us and offered the idea of an employee owned co-operative,” Pond explained.
Under the co-op arrangement, Ward Lumber’s employees formed a separate legal entity and bought the company from Jay. Among other actions, they formed a governance board, on which Pond sits, to oversee operations.