Co-operatives have a long history of serving members in Central Alberta.
From humble beginnings, Central Alberta Co-op Ltd. today has over 700 employees serving over 77,00 members in 10 different communities in central Alberta. We continue the tradition of giving back to communities, not only in the form of patronage refunds to our members but also in the form of financial support to many community organizations. In 2016, this support amounted to over $200,000.
We are proud of our longstanding involvement with the central Alberta communities we serve, and we invite you to visit any of our locations. We strive to make you feel like “You’re at home here.”
Co-ops were built on the concept of working together to help serve their communities better. With the retail landscape continuing to be more complex, both Eckville and Central Alberta Co-op's Board of Directors entered into discussion regarding the possibility of a partnership in 2016. They saw that this partnership would be beneficial not only to the Co-op's themselves but also to the member/customers and the communities they serve. Effective, January 29th, 2017, the new Central Alberta Co-op Ltd. was formed.
In April of 1912, the Medicine Valley Estonian Society met to discuss the creation of a consumer co-operative. This meeting led to the formation of the Eckville and Gilby Co-operative Company. At the time, the price of bread was 5 cents per loaf and gasoline was 21 cents per gallon. In 1938, after many years of steadily increasing business, a new store was constructed in the Town of Eckville. The Eckville and Gilby Co-operative Company incorporated and became Eckville Co-operative Association Limited. After a devastating fire destroyed the feed mill in 1992, a new Agro Center was built and opened on the same site. The following year, a new Food Store was constructed at its present location. In 2010, a cardlock was added to their locations.
In 2012, Eckville Co-operative Association Limited celebrated its 100th Anniversary!
The first Co-op in this particular area was in Innisfail, when in 1934, a group of community members formed a central purchasing agency, naming it Innisfail & District Co-operative Association. The first sales were cases of fruit, and the store was a railway car. This Co-op was incorporated in November 1940. Innisfail Co-op has seen many changes and expansions over the years. They offer the community a wide variety of services, including food, hardware, farm supplies and fuel.
In 1937, the charter was issued for Red Deer Consumers Co-op. In 1951, this Co-op was taken over by the Alberta Co-operative Wholesale Ltd., and then in 1956, assets were purchased, and the new Red Deer Co-op Limited was born, selling food, hardware and farm supplies. Over the years, more facilities were added, not only in Red Deer, but also Lacombe, Stettler and Elnora.
The Spruce View Co-op started in 1938 and was incorporated in 1939 as “The Corner Co-op”. In 1963, the name was changed to the Spruce View Co-operative Association. Being the only retail store in Spruce View, the Co-op has always been the hub of the community. With a very humble beginning of selling groceries and fuel, Spruce View Co-op now offers food, hardware, lumber and farm supplies.
In 2008, after working closely together for almost 60 years, Innisfail and Spruce View Co-ops had a vision for the future of these two Co-ops, and amalgamated to form Central Alberta Co-op Ltd. Since that time, other facilities have been added or upgraded, fulfilling more member needs.
In 2011, the Board of Directors, along with Management, again had a much larger vision of working together to not only strengthen their operations but also provide expanded service to members. In 2012, members voted unanimously to join Central Alberta Co-op Ltd with Red Deer Co-op Limited, to form the new Central Alberta Co-op Ltd.