The Pincher Creek Cooperative Association Ltd. has had a lengthy and innovative history central with the commercial development of the Pincher Creek area.
Established in 1922, the local cooperative venture resulted from local farmers and ranchers wishing to have control over the marketing and sales of their agricultural products, particularly with local customers. This was in result to the tough economic and agricultural times following the end of the First World War in 1918.
The first such local agricultural co-operative had been the Southern Alberta Haygrowers, established immediately after the end of the war; although this group achieved much in agricultural marketing, it fell victim to the post-War economic downturn. Its Board of Directors was personally liable for the losses but the community’s resolve in supporting the cooperative concept nevertheless was strengthened.
Hence, a resolution was passed at the January 7th, 1922 gathering of the Pincher Creek branch of the United Farmers of Alberta to establish the Pincher Creek Co-op. The local business received its charter that June and its first Annual General Meeting was held on August 24th, 1922. Earl G. Cook, who farmed just north and east of Pincher Creek and who also served as the local UFA Member of the Alberta Legislature from 1921 to 1930, was elected as the Co-op’s Charter President. Yarrow pioneer Louis Bonertz (1880 – 1970) became the first Vice-President with the following Directors representing the rural districts: M. C. Duffield from Springridge also serving as Secretary, William Terrill representing Twin Butte, Stephen Lunn from the Beauvais District, and H. Hillier and J. T McAllister acting as Members at Large. This system of directorship established the Co-op’s connections with the pioneer families and agricultural customers. Mr. Stringer who was formerly with the United Grain Growers served as the founding Manager from 1922 to 1925. Stringer’s visionary business practice was to launch an active membership recruitment campaign, particularly in the rural areas.
The Pincher Creek Co-op quickly developed a diversified agricultural and commercial strategy, offering a variety of services to patrons and customers from this southwestern corner of the Canadian Prairies. The former Waldorf Hotel, built a generation earlier near the south end of what was then Bridge Avenue became the Coop’s offices. This eye-catching two-storey frame structure with verandah served as the initial seed cleaning plant but an expansion was quickly needed. A peaked roof building on the former Chaput Livery stable site just to the south was built in 1927 to serve as the new seed cleaning plant. A lumber yard was to the rear of the office building three years later. The former Fraser-McRoberts Department Store, a large two-storey brick building at the corner of Main Street and Police Avenue was purchased in 1946 to successfully serve as the Co-op’s dry goods and grocery store. It was expanded to the east and the south in the 1950s to meet the demands of the growing trade. Richard W. Morgan’s Pincher Creek Motors garage on the current Post Office site on East Avenue was purchased for the Co-op Garage in 1948. The Pincher Creek Coop purchased the Creamery and Meat Market on what is now Hewetson Avenue, also in 1948. It purchase price was 85,000 dollars but more than $60,000 was raised via member subscriptions. The creamery operated until 1988. The Cowley office, grocery store and lumber yard of the Pincher Creek Co-op dated back to 1929 and went through many changes over the years. At one point, a Co-op Locker Storage Plant was located there. In 1979, the Co-op established the Ranchland Mall on Pincher Creek’s north hill, moving its downtown grocery and dry goods stores there. The Main Street property was sold to the Province of Alberta. In early March 1988, the Co-op’s Farm and Home Centre at the east end of Main Street was officially opened.
Co-operatives have a long history of serving members in Western Canada. In the early 20th century, people worked together to create retail co-operatives in many towns in the four western Canadian provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia).
We pride ourselves on our customer service and invite you to visit a location closest to you. When you visit, we strive to make you to feel like “You’re at home here.”
1923- Your local Pincher Creek Co-op started their first office and seed cleaning plant.
1930- The Co-op Lumber Yard was build and in operation.
1946- The first General Store was opened.
1948- Co-ops Garage was open for business.
1948- The Creamery and Meat Market was introduced to the members.
In 1979, the Co-op established the Ranchland Mall on Pincher Creek’s north hill, moving its downtown grocery and dry goods stores there.