Chelsea Green Publishing

Living above the Store

eBook: 9781603582179
Pub. Date May 07, 2009

Living above the Store

Building a Business That Creates Value, Inspires Change, and Restores Land and Community

By Martin Melaver
Foreword by Ray Anderson

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
May 07, 2009

$27.95 $22.36

The economic crash of late 2008 is just the latest evidence of the truth that many have known for so long: that too much of our modern economy is based on a house of cards. We need businesses that not only factor their impact on people and places into their equations for success but also strive to restore the communities and environments in which they operate. How can this be done?

In Living Above the Store, Martin Melaver provides a roadmap for creating such a business. It's not only a "how to" but a "why to" that challenges business as usual to change.

Living Above the Store brings us into the story of Melaver, Inc., a third-generation, 70-year-old family real estate business, as it evolves toward becoming a thought and product leader in sustainable business practices. It is part business management theory and part case study, where sustainable principles meet sustainable practices, always grounded in day-to-day practice.

Living Above the Store demonstrates how to:

  • Adopt a business model that provides for economic success while contributing to society and the environment
  • Shape a business culture that is restorative to a workforce by helping employees realize their highest potential
  • Leverage an ethos within a business that "ripples outward" to foster restoration of both land and community
  • Embrace a notion of limits to growth
  • Reframe ideas about competition, proprietary knowledge, and business success,

Living Above the Store is for readers who care about issues of community and sustainability as well as for those who want to learn more about how a socially responsible business can first redefine, and then find, success.


"How would a business operate if people and values mattered as much as profit? Melaver's exploration of this question is so compelling not because he knows, but because he is so frank about his quest to find out."--Nadav Malin, President, BuildingGreen, LLC

"Living Above the Store breaks the mold on business writing. This is a tale of three generations of the Melaver family, the purported end of the world, and the true nature of enterprise. It is a book about the greening of business to be sure, but it is literature first, brilliant disquisitions and narratives that place commerce within the broader context of history, culture, and the cherished human values that bind us together. Martin Melaver has enlarged the vocabulary of commerce and restored it to a place of honor, a timely gift in an era of disillusionment. You may put it down to absorb what has been written, but you will not forget the stories of courage, the humility of reflection or the import of what has been said, and you will want to read it straight through to the end."--Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce

"Living Above the Store is the right book for these difficult times, when business needs to regain trust. Melaver starts with specific stories of running a family business, sharing successes and failures, frustrations and joys, and then broadens out to illuminate general principles for running a sustainable business. These stories still stick in my mind, long after I have put the book away."--Marc Gunther, contributing editor, Fortune

"At long last, a visionary work that reminds us what businesses once were, and can once again be. Martin Melaver has shared with us the story of his remarkable real estate company, eloquently teaching us how to run a business that is not solely about making a buck, but about building a sustainable society. Mandatory reading for leaders from all sectors--business, NGOs and government--who believe that our work should make the world a healthier, kinder and more prosperous place."--Eilon Schwartz Director, The Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, Tel Aviv

"There is a third century teaching that says, 'Do not separate yourself from the community.' Commentators since have interpreted this to mean that even if one can accomplish more alone, distancing oneself weakens the entire community. The unique contributions of every individual are critical to the dialogue and discussion which nourish the community. Martin Melaver offers his own commentary on the building and sustaining of community. Each chapter is multi-layered and engaging. Not only does Melaver aspire to connect his actions to a vision of 'building a business that creates value, inspires change, and restores land and community,' but he inspires others to do so as well."--Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi, Director, Pritzker Center for Jewish Education, Jewish Community Centers of Chicago

"The most sustainably growing family business leaders, I find, are philosophers of management. Living Above the Store is a compelling example. Further, it is a wonderful story built on wonderful stories. All business leaders will be inspired by the power of connecting driving values with convincing stories."--John L. Ward, Clinical Professor, Kellogg School of Management and Principal, The Family Business Consulting Group

"Martin describes the evolution of his ideas and practices with refreshing candor and humility. He is a role model for me, my students, and anyone interested in building a values-based, sustainable business."--John Vogel, Adjunct Professor, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

"A truly superb work, Living Above the Store has challenged my thinking about management, and Southface will be a better organization as a result. Martin Melaver is smart and articulate, and has the courage to be honest. Creating a sustainable economy requires a transformational shift in the thinking of business. Melaver embraces this challenge and his book is a compass not only for businesses, large and small, but also for government, non-profits, and even individuals."--Dennis Creech, Executive Director, Southface Energy Institute

"Engaging and informative, Living Above the Store is a story of remarkable change through Martin Melaver's thoughtful, collaborative dialogue of discovery with his family, colleagues and community. He challenges conventional tenets and offers a business plan utilizing diversity, shared values, common purpose and a land-community ethic that is restorative for humankind and nature. Living Above the Store is for readers interested in realizing a business' highest potential and regaining a more authentic sense of themselves or for anyone wanting to develop a life plan for the 21st century."--Bob Berkebile, BNIM Architects

"This is a heartwarming and inspiring story of how business ought to be conducted at the intersection of community, common sense, and caring."--David Orr, author of Design on the Edge and Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College

"Martin Melaver's beautiful retelling of his family and business experience provides valuable professional management directions for realizing ethically based business practices that are crucial to our society's health. General readers will also be inspired by the author's advice, personal journey, and approaches to the challenges he's taken on."--Michael Singer, artist/designer

"Martin Melaver has expressed the deepest aspirations of what it means to be a developer. He's done so in the most purposeful and important sense of the word--to create added value and new potential in the whole system of life. If all developers can work towards achieving this purpose we actually have a shot at what's required of us to achieve a sustainable and thriving condition."--Bill Reed, Principal, Integrative Design


Martin Melaver

Martin Melaver has been CEO of Melaver, Inc., since 1992. Never content with the welltrod path, he has a PhD in literature from Harvard University and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He is actively involved with numerous community organizations in and around Savannah, Georgia. Melaver splits his time between Savannah and Tel Aviv, Israel.


Carbon Shock

Carbon Shock

By Mark Schapiro

In Carbon Shock, veteran journalist Mark Schapiro takes readers on a journey into a world where the same chaotic forces reshaping our natural world are also transforming the economy, playing havoc with corporate calculations, shifting economic and political power, and upending our understanding of the real risks, costs, and possibilities of what lies ahead.

In this ever-changing world, carbon—the stand-in for all greenhouse gases—rules, and disrupts, and calls upon us to seek new ways to reduce it while factoring it into nearly every long-term financial plan we have. But how?

From the jungles of the Amazon to the farms in California’s Central Valley, from ‘greening’ cities like Pittsburgh to rising powerhouses like China, from the oil-splattered beaches of Spain to carbon-trading desks in London, Schapiro deftly explores the key axis points of change.

For almost two decades, global climate talks have focused on how to make polluters pay for the carbon they emit. It remains an unfolding financial mystery: What are the costs? Who will pay for them? Who do you pay? How do you pay? And what are the potential impacts? The answers to these questions, and more, are crucial to understanding, if not shaping, the coming decade.

Carbon Shock evokes a world in which the parameters of our understanding are shifting—on a scale even more monumental than how the digital revolution transformed financial decision-making—toward a slow but steady acknowledgement of the costs and consequences of climate change. It also offers a critical new perspective as global leaders gear up for the next round of climate talks in 2015.

Available in: Hardcover, eBook

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Systems Thinking For Social Change

By David Peter Stroh

Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation.

How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results.

Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert.

Systems thinking leader David Stroh walks readers through techniques he has used to help people end homelessness and increase affordable housing, improve public health, strengthen public education and access to early childhood development services, protect child welfare, reform the criminal justice system, resolve identity-based conflicts, and more.

The result is a highly readable, effective guide to understanding systems and using that knowledge to get the results you want.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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A couple working six months per year for 50 hours per week on 20 acres can net $25,000-$30,000 per year with an investment equivalent to the price of one new medium-sized tractor. Seldom has agriculture held out such a plum. In a day when main-line farm experts predict the continued demise of the family farm, the pastured poultry opportunity shines like a beacon in the night, guiding the way to a brighter future.

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By Gianaclis Caldwell

There has never been a better time to be making and selling great cheese. People worldwide are consuming more high-quality, handmade cheese than ever before. The number of artisan cheesemakers has doubled in recent years, and many of the industry’s newcomers are “farmstead” producers–those who work only with the milk of their own animals. Today, more than ever before, the people who choose to become farmer-cheesemakers need access to the knowledge of established cheese artisans who can help them build their dream.

Few career choices lead to such extremes of labor, emotion, and monetary challenge. In The Small-Scale Cheese Business (originally published in 2010 as The Farmstead Creamery Advisor), respected cheesemaker, instructor, and speaker Gianaclis Caldwell walks would-be producers through the many, and often confusing, steps and decisions they will face when considering a career in this burgeoning cottage industry. This book fills the gap that exists between the pasture and cheese plate. It goes far beyond issues of caring for livestock and basic cheesemaking, explaining business issues such as:

    * Analyzing your suitability for the career;
    * Designing and building the cheese facility;
    * Sizing up the market;
    * Negotiating day-to-day obstacles;
    * Ensuring maximum safety and efficiency.

Drawing from her own and other cheesemakers’ experiences, Caldwell brings to life the story of creating a successful cheesemaking business in a practical, organized manner. Absolutely essential for anyone interested in becoming a licensed artisan cheesemaker, The Small-Scale Cheese Business will also appeal to the many small and hobby-farm owners who already have milking animals and who wish to improve their home dairy practices and facilities.

Available in: Paperback

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