“(Employee ownership) is one of the best options because it doesn’t become a way of pleasing the whims of just one person. On the contrary: it’s your business, but it’s also about putting people first.”
When Eileen Michaels decided to retire, she wanted to leave her business as she ran it: openly, collaboratively, and with a focus on her employees.
Over the course of 25 years, Eileen grew A Yard & A Half Landscaping into one of the top-performing landscaping design, build, and maintenance firms in the country. By 2013, A Yard & A Half was in the top 15% of American landscaping companies, and the top 3% of all women-owned businesses in the country based on annual sales.
Many attributed A Yard & A Half’s success to Eileen’s management style. As an owner, Eileen invested in her workers, operating with open books, shared profits, and joint decision-making.
So, when Eileen wanted to retire, selling A Yard & A Half to her employees seemed like the natural choice. Giving her employees the chance to buy the company provided Eileen with a triple-win: She got a return on the business she built, rewarded her employees for their commitment, and ensured that jobs and services remained in her Greater Boston community.
Today, A Yard & A Half is celebrated as a successful employee-owned business and continues to serve as an inspiration in the community. The company’s continued growth has paid off for its employees, the majority of whom started as entry-level team members. Beyond building individual and professional skills, workers have been able to buy homes in the community, save for their children’s education, and invest in their own retirement.