Historical Wet. Coop

Pipestone Flyer

Mr. Allan Halter, Manager at the Wetaskiwin Co-op, will be managing another Co-op store on April 23rd.   The store, located at 4703 – 50 Street, Wetaskiwin, is the former Sobey’s store and becomes the new Co-op grocery store. Co-op grocery stores aren’t new to Halter as he arrived in Wetaskiwin 5 years ago with 25 years of experience in the food retail business. Co-op grocery stores aren’t new to Wetaskiwin, either. 

    Back in 1917, settlers felt they were being exploited by too many profit-takers in what they felt was an unfair marketplace.  To address this challenge and improve their situation, farmers all across Western Canada joined forces and formed cooperatives.  

    The first settlers in the Wetaskiwin region envisioned a store they could rely on for their needed commodities like salt, flour, sugar, apples, feed, seed grain, and binder twine.  In the beginning, that store was a railway spur at the box car door.  Local members were notified that their supplies had arrived and farmers would call at the box car to pick up their orders and sometimes their neighbours' orders as well. It was not unusual for families to purchase supplies that would last them six to twelve months.  The charge for these goods was the cost of the goods plus transportation expenses and a very small handling fee.  

    Early records indicate that by 1915, John Berg and Carl Eliason, of the Cherry Grove Local, helped organize other locals and began buying farm and family essentials on a group basis. A few months later, under the direction of Thomas Toreson, the Lone Ridge Local convened a meeting in the sitting room of the Wetaskiwin Hotel.  The representatives decided that their main purpose was co-operative buying and selling. They adopted a constitution and bylaws, and elected Edward Schmidt as President and John Berg as the Secretary of the Wetaskiwin District Association of the United Farmers of Alberta.  Each local paid a membership fee of $1.00 per year and designated a representative to the association.

    At the next general meeting held on December 15, 1916   Mr. A.B. (Burt) Evarts assumed the secretarial duties from Mr. Berg because he was more centrally located to all the locals and the railroad. Although the Association was not making any significant profits, volume of commodities and membership was increasing. The Association made the decision to offer benefits in which they were enjoying to the town people.  

    The Association had built a strong grassroots foundation for growth. At a general meeting held on November 16th, 1917 at the Bijou Theatre in Wetaskiwin, the district locals determined that they could no longer operate from a boxcar on a railroad spur. They decided to acquire a permanent store and apply to the Province to incorporate under the Alberta Co-operative Association Act.  The charter was signed by twenty farmers who comprised the provisional Board of Directors. The name was modified to the Wetaskiwin U.F.A. Co-operative Association Ltd.  

    By March 9th of 1918 an elected Board of Directors was chosen.  They were:  Edward Schmidt, Hugh McGrandle, Edward Rasmuson, Thomas Toreson, Victor Thompson, Edward Peterson, Carl Hanson, Fred Freeman, and A.B. (Burt) Evarts.

    The locals and the directors raised $550 for working capital and opened a store on West Railway Street in a building they rented from Jack Walker for $30.00 per month.  Mr. A.P. Moan became the Secretary Treasurer at a salary of $1400 per year and was instructed to take the $550.00 of share capital and buy necessary fixtures and invest the balance in merchandize.  

The first retail Co-op store in Wetaskiwin was open for business and open to all.

Just Posted

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Sabrina Wilde in front of a recently purchased monster truck. Submitted.
Thorsby business women a finalist for 2021 Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

Sabrina Wilde with Lone Wolf Mechanical is a finalist for the entrepreneurial award.

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Newborn daughter’s death inspires MP’s bill on bereavement leave for parents

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec says a day or two off not enough for some grieving parents

Most Read