In the winter of 2012, a group of restaurant workers from around Olympia met with the intention of starting a worker-owned cooperative business. Many of these folks had then or previously worked at the Flaming Eggplant Cafe, a student-run restaurant at the Evergreen State College. The experience of being employed at a collectively-managed restaurant provided a specific skillset for running a worker-owned food service business. Ideas for what the project might look like ranged from ideas as charming as providing sandwiches to local gas stations to having a pop-up nighttime cafe that rented out a storefront on weekends. Some- perhaps a lot- of the ideas were bad. And yet, some were good. The best idea from our first meeting in a certain wood-stove bearing living room was that we would name our group the Black Moon Collective.
After that first meeting, we began the long (and still in progress) process of defining what we wanted our collective to be and articulating the policies and goals that we want to hold ourselves to. While a portion of the collective focused on internal tasks and brought these to the larger meetings for discussion, others began searching for kitchens we might utilize, businesses we could coordinate with and other potential ventures we might undertake. This momentum culminated in our being offered the purchase of the New Moon Cafe, after then-owner Dylan Elkhart overheard a discussion among his workers about our project. The Black Moon Collective spent weeks analyzing the costs and benefits to this option, and decided it was the right thing to do on March 27th, 2013.
With the combined efforts of crowdfunding, fundraising, tabling, personal loans, and buy-ins we were able to gather enough funds to cover the down payment and have enough for operations. We began owning and operating the restaurant four months later on July 27th, 2013. Our objective was to create a non-hierarchical working environment that was in itself a sustainable business. While we feel we've been successful with our first steps, we are aware of the frailty of beginnings. We are navigating, developing, and integrating sustainable business practices and constructive collective policies as often as is sensible. Join us for breakfast or lunch, enjoy the friendly atmosphere, and never hesitate to ask questions.