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

Grandview Cemetery taken over by County of Wetaskiwin

Cemetery board dissolved, could no longer care for property

Wetaskiwin Warlords selected as Team Alberta

Slo-pitch team inducted into Sports Hall of Fame

Bill Mojelski a famed local sports researcher

Mojelski inducted into Sports Hall of Fame

Jack Manson’s stellar hockey career

Manson was inducted into Sports Hall of Fame Apr. 27

Blaine Kjorlien a major player in Wetaskiwin wrestling

Athlete-Builder was inducted into Sports Hall of Fame

VIDEO: Police dog in Oregon struck by 200 porcupine quills during pursuit

The German shepherd had to be sedated and was in treatment for more than two hours

Calgary woman killed in B.C. highway crash

Crash closed highway for hours

Assessment says Alberta woman facing animal abuse charges fit to stand trial

April Dawn Irving, 59, is charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

Provinces, Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Oil and gas company confirms death of one of its employees in Yoho avalanche

Dana Coffield died when he was skiing in the Rocky Mountains

Cenovus CEO estimates production curtailments will deliver billions to taxpayers

The curtailment program started Jan. 1 was designed to keep 325,000 barrels per day off the market

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Most Read