Our History
January 16, 2024

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.”

While our nation, province, and communities were reeling from the effects of the Depression and the Second World War, local farmers with foresight and determination, gathered together and organized a co-operative to sell farm supplies.

On September 7, 1939 a Co-operative Charter was signed establishing the Mayerthorpe Co-op. 

In the Barrhead area, a group of co-operatively minded farmers came together to purchase supplies and save precious dollars on freight costs, forming an informal farm supply Co-op in the Mellowdale area in a garage on the property of Mr. Carl Burke in 1944. On the 22nd of April 1944, the Barrhead District Co-op was incorporated. 

The Mayerthorpe Co-op Ltd. opened its first store in 1941, and subsequently purchased the RN Sherwin Store just four years later. Both of these locations started as a co-operative buying group to facilitate purchases to meet the needs of members needing supplies.

In 1945, the first Board of Directors of the Barrhead District Co-op was formed; nine astute individuals dedicated to the development of the Co-op into a thriving retail.

The primary function of the Co-op Board of Directors is a governance role; reviewing reports, setting policies, and making sound financial decisions. The Board of Directors is in charge of hiring a general manager to share the vision of the membership, and lead the management team as well as the operational team members to excellence.

The first Barrhead Co-op store opened for business Monday January 21st, 1946 on the west side of Barrhead’s Main Street. In 1960, the Alberta Co-op Wholesale Association (A.C.W.A) was amalgamated with Federated Co-operatives of Saskatoon, and thus Barrhead Co-op became members of Federated Co-op as we are today.

In 1963, the Mayerthorpe Co-op opened their Lumber Yard as well as a Service Centre, and within 6 years, they completed construction for their store.

In November of 1966, plans to construct a Service Centre in Barrhead were approved, with the doors opening in the fall of 1968. Barrhead Co-op now had facilities to handle hardware, lumber, fencing materials, feed, and fertilizer.

In 1970 came the addition of a petroleum outlet and a new fuel truck for bulk deliveries. Two fuel pumps were placed in front of the Service Centre as well as bulk fuel tanks and an oil shed at the rear.

Throughout the 90s, more renovations and expansions occurred, adding to the diversification of operations. In 2001, the Home Centre opened to the community to serve the area. In 2007, Barrhead and Mayerthorpe Co-op’s began exploring amalgamation opportunities, as stores were meeting the increasing demands and growth of the communities and surrounding areas. This coming together was completed in 2008 under the new organizational name of Barrhead and Districts Co-op Ltd.

The future well being of the Co-op largely depends on the co-operation and harmony of all departments and employees within our organization. With membership support, the due diligence of the Board, proactive and visionary planning, and the support of all employees, we hope to continue to serve the needs, wishes, and hopes of the community for many years to come.

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