History of the Watrous Co-operative

A group of local farmers in Renown, held the first organizational Meeting on November 17, 1934, which resulted in Renown Co-operative being incorporated on March 23rd, 1935.

For the first few years the Co-op operated out of a caboose with a part time employee, only wood and coal was handled and the first agent was R. Norris, who at that time was also the Pool Elevator Agent. The next large item was twine; in 1937 gasoline and oil were then added. There was no significant change until the early 1940's when the co-op then moved into the building that was formerly used by Security Lumber Company and owned by J.O. Davis. The Co-op rented the building from Mr. Davis and also hired him as the Manager. Many more items were added into the inventory such as wrenches and parts for farm implements.

In 1943 the Co-op purchased the stock of groceries, hardware and dry goods from the Libby Bros. General Store. It was at this time the Board of Directors also increased to 9. After the Second World War farm fuel sales increased substantially as more
tractors became available to farmers. During these years all fuel sales were delivered in 45 gallon drums. Metered fuel began in 1951 where M. Laird had a contract with the Co-op to deliver its fuel. All fuel delivery was contracted out until the bulk fuel business moved to Watrous. This is when the Co-op decided to purchase there own delivery truck. Until the late 1950's coal was the popular heating material. Coal was handled primarily at the Amazon Branch of the Renown Co-op. The Amazon Branch eventually closed in 1959.

Discussion of future plans in 1957 included operating a bulk station only, building a store in Renown and expanding, or centralizing and supporting the organization of a Co-op Centre in Watrous. Times were changing, farms were getting larger and rural populations had started to decline. Watrous was becoming larger, and drawing an increasingly larger number of people. A Special Meeting was called January 1958 to discuss relocating the Co-op to Watrous. A feasibility survey was conducted and presented to the board in July of 1961. The decision was made to begin
relocating. On November 1, 1962 the official Grand Opening of the Bulk Station and Store took place, even though the Co-op was still operating as the Renown Co-op Association. The Renown Store closed in September of 1965 and the name was officially changed to the Watrous Co-op Association at the next Annual General Meeting.

The Newly named Watrous Co-op continued to grow and attract new members to the Association, primarily still focusing on Petroleum, Oil, Hardware and Feed. It wasn't until 1998 when the Watrous Co-op decided to once again expand. During the next decade the Watrous Co-op, with strong support by its dedicated members expanded in all existing and new areas for the Co-op. In November of 1999 the first Watrous Co-op Food Store was opened. In 2004 the Cardlock and Farm and Hardware Centre was built, which later expanded into new items like grain bins. Then in May 2007, the new Gas Bar Convenience Store was opened replacing the original Watrous Co-op building.

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Watrous Co-operative Association Ltd. Box 488, Watrous, SK. S0K 4T0 (306) 946-5510