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The Surrey Co–operative Association by Ken Marcuzzi,
Cloverdale Square, by Laura Mah.

The History of the Surrey Co–operative Association and Cloverdale Square were edited from reports prepared for Mr. J. Brown's Social Studies 11 class at Lord Tweedsmuir by Ken Marcuzzi and Laura Mah. These articles were published by the Surrey Leader under the byline of Tweedsmuir's Centennial Highlights in 1979.

Co-op sign 1919

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

The Surrey Co–op was a well known landmark in Cloverdale. It began very humbly in 1919 to serve the farmers in the area.

Farmers in the area were taking advantage of a plan to jointly purchase train carloads of grain, hay and similar farm feeds at a reduced price. The Fraser Valley Milk Producers' Association would order the feed at a discount rate for the farmers and would sell it from a box car parked on the siding. Farmers would either pay cash for the feed or have the Fraser Valley Milk Producers Association deduct the amount of the feed cost from their milk cheques. This was really the beginning of the Surrey Co–op.

On November 29, 1921 the FVMPA and the Poultrymans' Co–operative Exchange held a meeting tCloverdale Square,
by Laura Mah, Social Studies 11.o discuss forming a co–operative feed association. Before proceeding further, they had to find sufficient people to subscribe to a total of $12,000 in shares. Only $4,800 in shares was bought up.

On February 12, 1921 a motion was passed to proceed with the organization even though the $12,000 had not been raised in the sale of shares.

At the meeting on June 8, 1921 a Board of Directors was elected. J. McIntyre was elected President, H. Bose was Vice–President, and F.J. Kellaway was Secretary–Treasurer. Along with this executive seven other members were elected to the board.

The Surrey Co–operative Association opened in February 1921 even though they did not have a building of their own. At first, for a few months, a small warehouse was rented. In August of that year the Co–op took over the warehouse and eventually became the building that was known as the "old Mill". 1922 found the warehouse being extended and two lots purchased for an office and an additional warehouse. Annual sales in 1921 was $49,979 and had increased to over $250,000 by 1925 and reached nearly half a million dollars in the late 1920s.

Co-op and Surrey Municipal Hall

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

The increase in profit was paralleled with an increase in memberships. Members could see advantages in patronizing their own store when their patronage refund cheques came. Members would receive an average 6% refund on their purchases over the year.

In 1923 storage bins were added to the warehouse. In 1926 a warehouse and new bins were built. In 1929 two new buildings were built on land purchased on the New McLellan Road, one was for a warehouse and the other was leased to an egg pool and then it became a warehouse.

Due to the depression in the 1930s the Co–op suffered a recession as did many other businesses.

Co-op Freezer Plant

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

1n 1941 a cold storage locker plant was installed.

Cloverdale app 1940s

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

For many years part of the Co-op office was used as a hardware store supplying farm type hardware such as; nails, fencing, shovels, pails and roofing. Over the years more office space was needed.

Co-op street view

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

In 1943 the hardware was moved to the second floor of the not yet completed cold storage plant.

In 1945 the poultry plant was opened and it gave the farmers an instant market for their poultry. The Poultry plant shut down in 1956 and became the meat plant. In 1946 the most recent feed mill and warehouse was built.

Co-op Bulk Feeds

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

The new mill was fully modernized and a sprinkling system was installed to guard against fires. The system is fed from a 60,000 gallon tank mounted on a 140 foot high tower so there would be good water pressure to the highest part of the elevator. An auxiliary pump can also be used to pump water from the nearby reservoir. (See Cloverdale Water)

The new mill was built in three sections. The elevator which was 40 by 60 feet and 7 stories high was capable of holding 2200 tons of grain. The mill section was 40 by 70 feet and six stories high. There was also a 3 story warehouse 53 by 70 feet.

The volume of business of the new mill was much greater than that of the old. In one quarter of the time in the new mill the tonnage was 202,770 tons.

Grain arrived in carloads and is unloaded into clean bins. The mill grinds and blends the grains into different types of feed such as chick starter, growing mash, laying mash, fattening mash, turkey grower, hog grower, dairy feed and dog meals.

Co-op grocery and hardware

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

In 1948 it was decided to build a new hardware and a grocery store. In 1948 the hardware opened. The new building was air conditioned, well lighter and contained 5,000 feet of floor space in which it was possible to display a wide range of tools, equipment, household items and heavy appliances. The Co–op sold farm tractors, stoves, clothing, insecticides and even china ware.

In October 1949 the Co–op Service Station opened. It handled Standard Oil products, tires, accessories and did repairs. In November 1949 the Bulk Oil Plant opened to supply oils, gas and grease in bulk to the people.

1949 was the year that the Sheet Metal Shop opened across the road on the lot that the Pacific 66 service station used to be located. The Co–op began installing heating and plumbing systems. This shop closed in 1952 along with the electrical shop which also opened in 1949.

Co-op Ladner Co-op Ladner

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

In 1955, the Surrey Co–op combined with the Ladner Co–op for the mutual benefit of both. Ladner Co–op had both a hardware and feed department.

In 1960 a gas station, hardware and grocery store was built in Abbotsford. In 1964 the new Abbotsford Mill was started and construction was completed by 1968. In the 1970s a new Bulk Oil Plant was built in Abbotsford. The Surrey Co–op Mill in Cloverdale closed at this time and was torn down except for the order office and a warehouse. The head office moved to Abbotsford in 1969.

The Surrey Co–op had 15 acres of land in Cloverdale and one acre of land in Ladner. There were 23 acres of Co-op land in Abbotsford.

The Surrey Co–op in 1974 had 12 directors. The president was R.J. Barichello, the membership was 15,999, and sales amounted to $31,038,000 in 1974. This brought the total sales since 1921 to $314,459,000.

Cloverdale Areal

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

The Surrey Co–op grew as the needs of the community grew but as Surrey urbanized the need for the mill part of complex diminished. Urbanization caused the decline of the poultry business that was dominated by small holdings. Dairy farms were being replaced with market gardens to meet the needs of the growing population of Greater Vancouver. The mill in Abbotsford centred on the new dairy production centre in the Fraser Valley and provided a good market for Co–op feeds.

Tearing down the Co-op

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

In 1975 work began on phase 1 of the Cloverdale Square Shopping Centre and the completion of the new Bulk Oil Plant in Abbotsford. By 1976 saw the official opening of the Home Centre, Service Station, Feed Office and Warehouse, and the new Bulk Oil Plant.

Surrey Co–op continues to be an important Co–op in British Columbia to meets its members needs. Membership at the beginning of 1976 was 16,842.

The Development of the Cloverdale Square,
by Laura Mah, Social Studies 11.

Cloverdale Square Shopping Centre

Picture courtesy of Surrey Archives

The Cloverdale Square Shopping Centre was developed in a series of phases. The first phase consisted of a Home Centre, Lumber yard and Sales Area. The second phase is the largest to the two phases. It consisted of a grocery store and other retail outlets in the complex.

The first phase contained a Service Station with a four–bay service, along with a modern sales area for automotive accessories, batteries, and tires. This phase also included a Home Centre, Farm Hardware, Feed Warehouse, Lumber Yard and Sales Area all located in the same building. Directly south of the Home Centre is the bulk Oil Plant with 24 hour key locks. This will enable the customers to fuel their vehicles around the clock and a full sized 70 foot weigh scale is also located on this property.

Phase 2 consisted of the largest part of the Cloverdale Square. Plans called for the speedy construction of the new grocery store which was completed by late 1977. The old Co–op grocery store had to move into the new facility before the old store could be demolished and phase 2 can continue its development. If the Home Centre had not been built first there would not have been any space for the hardware and feed warehouse.

The second phase provided the members with a fine grocery and bakery as well as many new stores in this shopping centre. All this will make for more shopping pleasure and provide a much better line of merchandise in the shopping mall.

A short history of the Surrey Co–operative Association

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