85 Years of History: Decades of Service
What is a Co-op?
A Co-op is a form of business that is designed to provide economic benefits to member owners as opposed to providing income to investors.
Co-ops are owned and controlled by the people who use their services. The Co-op difference: Member owner control, focus on member owner needs, profits shared with member owners.
Northern Lakes Cooperative was formed in 1932 by a group of sixty farmers that was fed up with paying high fuel prices to large petroleum monopolies. Through the 1930’s the cooperative added fuel outlets in surrounding communities, as well as groceries, farm supplies, and a grain elevator.
By the late 1950s, the Northern Lakes Cooperative complex consisted of bulk fuels, grocery, feed mill, hardware, clothing, a gas station and garage, a lunch counter and a credit union. There were 1,700 stockholders and 35 employees.
In 1969, the progressive Co-op Board of Directors and management facilitated construction of the first shopping mall in “Northwoods Wisconsin.” The mall housed the supermarket, a variety store, clothing store, barbershop, beauty salon and the credit union.
The 1970s and 1980s brought the additions of LP gas sales, heating and air conditioning service, liquors, as well as numerous remodeling projects. The pharmacy, the new Cenex convenience store, and a new office/energy center building were added in the 1990s. Also during that time the feed mill and food store underwent major remodeling projects.
The latest addition to the Co-op group was Gadget’s Computer Store in 2008 and the Hardware Store greenhouse and receiving area expansion addition in 2009.
Throughout its history, Northern Lakes Cooperative has set the standard for progressive retailing and innovation in the Hayward area. Through all the changes, however, its principles have remained the same: Excellent customer service, patron control, and commitment to community.