A worker owned co-op
since 1971

The Cheese Board: A Worker-Owned Collective Since 1971

The Cheese Board opened as a small cheese store in 1967. In 1971, the two original owners sold their business to their employees and created a 100% worker owned business of which they remained a part. The transition to a worker-owned and operated cooperative relied upon a shared work ethic, high standards, and the strong emotional connections among the group. Decisions were made, after much debate, either on the shift or at the monthly meetings. The new owners shared a belief that the collective process would organically create a truly democratic society.

Over time, we have grown in size and in the number of products we sell. We moved from our first storefront around the corner to our current home on Shattuck Avenue. The cheese store and bakery now features an espresso bar, we sell almost 400 different cheeses and an extensive selection of freshly baked breads and pastries. We have a pizzeria (a few doors down from the cheese store and bakery) that sells the pizza of the day, made from fresh ingredients, for lunch and dinner 5 days a week. Much of what we have done has come about by chance, by following our passion for food and with the support of our community. The belief that every voice is central has sustained us over the years. We have never wavered from the original vision of a democratic workplace. This commitment has made it possible to constantly reinvent ourselves, while remaining faithful to our political vision, and our belief in good, honest food.

“I love saying to people that this seems like an impossible business model, but it works, and it works very well.”
– Charlie (Longtime Cheese Board member)

About the Pizzeria

The Cheese Board Pizza began with a fun idea on a shift: we started making pizzas for ourselves by cutting off hunks of extra sourdough baguette dough, grabbing favorite cheeses from the counter and throwing on vegetables from the market next door. In 1985, we started serving pizza to our customers after regular hours on Friday nights. The idea was that we would make one type of vegetarian pizza each night, using fresh ingredients, unusual cheeses from the Cheese Board, all on top of a thin, sourdough crust.

That is still our recipe, but now the Pizzeria (two doors south of the Cheese Store & Bakery) is open for lunch and dinner five days a week. We’ve added salad, cookies, sodas, beer and wine to our menu. Live music at both lunch and dinner is part of the daily schedule. While the line of people waiting for pizza is often out the door it actually moves very quickly; the music adds enjoyment to the lively scene.

About Collectives

A worker cooperative is an enterprise that produces goods, distributes goods and/or provides services and is owned and controlled by its worker-owners. Ownership of a worker cooperative is vested solely with the worker-owners on an equal basis. Worker-owners control the resources of the cooperative and the work process. More information about collectives? The Cheese Board is part of a greater community of cooperatives. For more information please follow these links:

Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives
Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC)

 

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Join the Collective

The Cheese Board Collective is a worker-owned Cooperative. Our pizzeria division and our cheese and bread division are looking for new members to share our business with. Here is a little about working with The Cheese Board collective. If you think this sounds like the right place for you, SUBMIT YOUR RESUME

  • Candidate members must complete a six-month candidacy period before being considered for membership.  Candidate members will work primarily at the division (pizzeria or cheese and bread) which they are hired at.  We are looking for a long-term commitment, preferably five years or more.
  • Members work together in a close-knit environment and are involved in every aspect of operating the business.  Everyone is given the opportunity to learn every aspect of the business. It is a privilege and responsibility of membership to work towards the successful continued operation and growth of our collective. All candidate members are required to attend business meetings where the group makes decisions using a modified consensus process.
  • All workers are paid a living wage, $24 per hour.  In addition, Members receive a share of the profits based on the number of hours worked.  We offer full medical benefits plus a host of other benefits including dental and retirement plans to worker-owners.
  • Must have a love of food
  • Enthusiastic about working in a democratically managed workplace
  • Food handling experience is preferred
  • Ability to work weekends and cover shifts—often on short notice
  • Working hard and being punctual are essential
  • Must be able to work shifts that start at 6am or that end at 9pm at the pizzeria
  • Must be able to work shifts that start at 4am or that end at 7:30pm at the bakery/cheese shop
  • Great customer skills are required
  • Enthusiasm for interacting with the public
  • Candidates and members are expected to attend all business meetings (Candidates will be paid)
  • Must be available to work during the holiday season
  • Scheduling for members is dynamic and we can’t guarantee a set number of hours per week initially

Donation Requests

The Cheese Board Bakery & Cheese store and the Cheese Board Pizzeria accepts donation requests from community non-profit organizations and local school events. If you would like to make a request, please use our DONATION REQUEST FORM >

Our Book

The Cheese Board Collective Works was released in 2003 and presents over 100 recipes for the store’s classic breads, pastries, and pizzas, along with a history of the collective and an extensive cheese primer. The Cheese Board Collective Works was released in 2003 and presents over 100 recipes for the store’s classic breads, pastries, and pizzas, along with a history of the collective and an extensive cheese primer.

Available at many independent bookstores as well as online through AMAZON

Reserve Breads & Special Orders

We allow customers to reserve breads on most days, for most occasions.

To reserve bread please call: 510-549-3183 ext. 4

We are no longer taking orders for breads on Friday and Saturday. If you would like to have an item set aside for either day please call the day before.

Breads must be picked up 30 minutes before the end of the business day.

For large orders please reserve at least 24 hours in advance.

Gluten Free Friendly Pizza Information

Ordering Instructions:

If you would like a fully cooked gluten free friendly* pizza, when the pizzeria is open, please let someone know before you get in line so we can start it for you. This pizza takes 10-15 minutes to bake.

 

Sorry, we cannot take phone orders for the gluten free friendly pizza.

 

Gluten free friendly light bakes are available ~ 10am, at the bakery.

 

*Though many precautions are taken we cannot guarantee this product to be absolutely gluten free. We make this dough in house and the environment has a lot of flour in it. With regrets we cannot recommend this product for those with severe gluten allergies.

 

Ingredients: Pamela’s G.F. Flour Mix (Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, White Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Sorghum Flour, Arrowroot Starch, Guar Gum, Sweet Rice Flour, Rice Bran), Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, Xanthum Gum, Yeast, Water, Olive Oil Blend

Vegan Pizza Information

Ordering Instructions:

If you would like a fully cooked vegan friendly* pizza, when the pizzeria is open, please let someone know before you get in line so we can start it for you. This pizza takes 15-20 minutes to bake.

 

Sorry, we cannot take phone orders for the vegan pizza.

 

*Though many precautions are taken we cannot guarantee this product to be absolutely vegan. We make this pizza in house and the environment has a lot of cheese/dairy products. With regrets we cannot recommend this product for those with severe gluten allergies, nut allergies, or those concerned about the possibility of non-vegan contamination.

 

The cheese is made in Berkeley, by a vegan deli called “The Butcher’s Son”. We hope you will support this new local, small business as well: thebutchersveganson.com

Vegan Cheese Ingredients: Organic coconut oil, filtered water, organic cashew, rejuvilac (from sprouted wheat berries), tapioca flour, kappa carrageenan (red seaweed extract), kosher salt. This cheese contains trace amounts of gluten and contains nuts.

Light Bake Pizzas Information

We have light bake and gluten free friendly light bake pizzas ready to grab and go anytime at the Bakery. Finish baking in your oven to enjoy our fresh pizzas at home.

 

HEATING Instructions: Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here. Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here. Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here. Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here. Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here. Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here.

 

Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here. Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here. Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here. Heating instructions for light bake pizzas here.

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