Brand Stories – How Purpose Drives The Cheeseboard Collective

two women and one man in a bakery kitchen making bread

It’s All About the Others

Organizations all around the world are searching for the golden rule of collaboration. What drives people? How can we create a safe workplace for employees and provide meaning to their lives?

We found a group of people in Berkley — “The Cheese Board Collective” — who are surely worth taking a deeper look into.

Trust Can Only Be Earned Over Time

In 1967, a group of like-minded people started a venture, which 50 years later has grown into an organization of 65 “employees” — so-called members, who share one common vision: to take care of their community and provide the best food in town.

Everybody is both a top-level executive and a bottom-level worker. At The Cheese Board Collective all members are equal. They are passionate about their mission. Improving their offering and strengthening their community is a constant goal.

Blood in the Game — but “Never Rich”

After a six month trial, new applicants can engage for a long-term membership. Instead of getting a salary increase, here at The Cheese Board Collective, new members have to engage and invest. Everyone knows — they will never be rich — most likely not in terms of money. But there is another richness that can be achieved here at The Cheese Board Collective.

A Safe Place to Live

In an ever speeding global business environment, there are few places where people can feel safe and entrusted. At The Cheese Board Collective members do not have to worry. They can go on holiday without checking emails and take care of their private lives at any time. The average week counts between 30 and 35 hours. Members are covered — especially in times of need.

In order to get the best out of everyone, members are encouraged to explore and develop new skill sets and take ownership of new ideas. No one has to worry about competition but serving the purpose.

Quality as the Main Anchor

Of course — it is no coincidence that it has been up and running for 50 years. How did The Cheese Board Collective manage to survive and thrive? Quality of food and services is of the highest importance, their attention is always centered around the consumer and the business.

The passion to give the best each day drives the members and they give always more than expected. Each customer gets — while purchasing a piece of pizza — half a piece for free to enjoy it right away. Of course, customer experience is always on the radar — best products, top presentation and an amazing service. That’s how great brands are built and survive.

Retirement as a Challenger

Today, the collective faces more challenges. Members are retiring. As in many other companies, the next generation has to be brought on board. Even though the culture is strong, full buy-in for new members needs time and the wrong decisions can harm business and the collective. Therefore, new members have to prove their will and commitment.

Cost of Living

The more attractive the community, the faster the costs of living are growing. If you commit to give more than expected and care about your community, while the cost of living increases steadily, this can become problematic.

Also at The Cheese Board Collective, members have to work longer hours to compensate for increasing housing costs. The collective has to stay ready and adapt on time in order to remain successful.

Secrets of its Success

The Cheese Board benefits by giving everyone room to tinker and experiment. It also helps that everyone has a deep understanding of the business.

They continuously manage to attract workers interested in the vision of operating without a formal hierarchy. As it grew, the collective formed committees to manage everything from finance to human resources and production. Members are provided with a living wage, vacation, sick leave, health insurance, life insurance, retirement benefits and more.

It has created a community bigger than itself and members know they could not find such a lively and thrilling collective somewhere else.

To find out more about The Cheese Board Collective, visit their website.

Find and share this article on Medium.

Zurück zur Übersicht