New Documentary Highlights the Employee Ownership Advantage - Own It: A Colorado Story

DENVER - The Colorado Employee Ownership Office (EOO) in collaboration with the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media (COFTM) has developed a new documentary following the employee ownership journeys of five Colorado companies.

Own It: A Colorado Story follows five Colorado-based companies that have transformed the fabric of their communities – and the lives of their workers – by becoming employee-owned.

The five companies featured are:

  • Community Language Cooperative
  • Dojo4
  • Palmer Flowers
  • StoneAge
  • Merrick & Company

The 26-minute film, produced by independent film studio gritHouse, brought the story of employee ownership to life and the studio is now considering an employee-ownership structure for their own company.

“Filming this documentary was an insightful experience for us at gritHouse,” said Justin Lewis, owner and director at gritHouse Films. “As we heard the many inspiring stories about the benefits of employee ownership, we began to discuss how we'd like to pursue employee ownership within our company. At gritHouse, we value equity and employee ownership allows us to create a fair and equitable environment for everyone.” 

The Employee Ownership Office has organized a virtual watch party for partners, featured businesses and others interested in employee ownership. The event is free and open to the public. The watch party will be May 20 at 7:20 p.m. to introduce the documentary prior to it airing at 7:30 p.m. 

Viewers may watch on cable on PBS 12, via streaming on the PBS 12 website or via the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) YouTube page where it will be made available to all and offered on-demand for future viewing and sharing.

Following the premiere, Governor Polis will join the watch party to share his experience with employee ownership and why it is among his top initiatives. There will then be a 60-minute employee-ownership panel discussion moderated by Colorado Inside Out host Dominic Dezzutti and featuring:

  • Justin Lewis, GritHouse Films
  • Glenn Plagens, OEDIT 
  • Kerry Siggins, StoneAge
  • Corey Kohn, Dojo4
  • Tim Jordan, Palmer Flowers

“By producing this documentary, we want to share the stories of how employee ownership can look different from company to company,” said Glenn Plagens, director of Business Support and Rural Prosperity at OEDIT. “The consistent theme in employee-owned companies is happy people, more engaged employee owners, a higher quality of life and a positive company culture that people want to be a part of.” 

Register for the watch party