One of Saskatchewan’s longest operating businesses celebrated a milestone in style on Monday.
Federated Co-op Limited marked its 90th year in operation by shutting down a block of downtown Saskatoon Monday afternoon to have a block party.
Rosie and the Riveters provided entertainment as gourmet food was served to employees on 22nd Street outside the co-operative’s headquarters.
CEO Scott Banda looked on and reflected on the organizations past.
“There aren’t many businesses that last 90 years,” he said. “We’re just privileged to have the opportunity to celebrate 90 years and are very thankful to all those that have gone before that gave us the opportunity.”
Although co-operatives in the province existed beyond the last century, they banded together in 1928 to create a far-reaching operation and eventually became Federated Co-op Limited.
Last year the company topped $9.8-billion in sales — a far cry from its humble beginnings of $913,000 in sales in 1929.
“Almost half the province has a Co-op membership,” Banda said. “So that says something, but that’s a function of the people.”
“It’s a small province where people know if we’re going to get things done, we have to pull together and make it happen, whether that be socially or in business.”
There are few other companies like Federated Co-op in the province. Over its 90 years, the business has gained popularity that few others in the prairies can lay claim to. No matter where you go in this Saskatchewan, everyone has a Co-op story.
“I grew up in a Co-op family. You went to the Co-op for everything,” Banda said. “From farm clothing, to the old green Co-op pants that most farmers used to wear.”
“They used to say, ‘If the Co-op didn’t have it, you didn’t need it.'”
More than 10,000 people in Saskatchewan are employed by Federated Co-op. Banda couldn’t say what the business will look like in another 90 years, but he certainly wasn’t worried about its longevity.
“We are a part of the fabric of the province,” he said.
“It’s the history of this area, it’s this history of this province and we’re very proud to be part of it.”