The Early Days:
Little boys and teenage youths shot gophers and collected 3 cents for each tail. Pigs sold for 5 3/4 cents a pound. A hired man earned $1.25 a day, working from dawn to dusk. Beginning in August of 1914, Canadians went to fight in the First World War. 624,000 Canadian troops went overseas, 62,500 died in the war.
Lloydminster was two communities. There was a Saskatchewan town and an Alberta village. Each organized its own municipal affairs. Each had its own fair; Saskatchewan in August, Alberta in October. The people danced and had their social functions in Wood’s hall, where the Heritage Centre is now. They sang songs such as “Tipperary” and “Redwing”.
In 1903, Archie Miller’s dad and uncle had built the first store, and lived in a covered sleigh until it was finished. Then they lived over the store until Cummings and Cameron bought the store. The Miller’s built a house where the C.P.R tracks now lie. In order to lay the tracks the basement had to be filled in. Archie Miller lived in a tent for 13 years, about where 49 Ave and 53 street are now. The second store built was H. B. Hall’s store. On Church St., which is, 50th St. now, was the Baptist Church and the the log church, St. John’s Minster. There were two hotels on the street, the Royal George and the Britannia.
The banks in town were The Bank of Commerce and the Royal Bank of Canada. People had little cash money yet there was a lot of produce on hand. Some thought there should be some changes in this situation.
The First Co-
The Barr Colonists knew all about co-
When the Miller’s store opened, followed later by W. H. Hall, the first Co-
1914: What a year!
January 22, 1914, at a meeting at the North Battleford Annual Convention of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association there was a request made for the Saskatchewan Legislature to pass a bill calling for the establishment of wholesale and retail co-
The advantages, he told the farmers were: being able to exchange cattle and hogs for food and clothing; the organization could handle and ship livestock and buy and sell goods co-
Mr. Penson moved and Mr. Almond seconded that a Co-
The Lloydminster and District Agriculture Co-
All shares must be paid before the shareholder received dividends. Dividends to non-
They appointed T.A.A. Wright, “Alf” or “T.A.” as he was known, as manager. T.A. was from the Cockney area of London. Having only grade three education he went to work as an apprentice in the shipyard at Brightling Sea. At age twenty-
In the slack periods he used his carpentry skills to build grain elevators for the Alberta Farmers’ Grain Company. He worked with Percy and Hedley Manners and others who built some of the first elevators at Kitscoty, Blackfoot and Lloydminster. He knew nothing about selling before coming to the Co-
In 1914 he realized that he needed to keep accounts which would make it necessary to have an ongoing system of books. He purchased the Alexander Hamilton Institute Business Course, which was recognized as the best correspondence business course of its day. It covered every aspect of business in its twenty-
The Six Directors:
Stanley Rackham Many capable people worked with Mr. Wright to guide the organization to a successful beginning. One such was Stanley Rackham. His visions and thoughts were transformed into actions. He envisioned the co-
Stanley Rackham had enlisted the co-
George Foote (W.G.) was described as a “tough, tight-
George Pensom, a Gloucestershire man, had little formal education. He had red curly hair with a temper to go with it. If there was a problem, he wanted it cleared up before proceeding on. Every issue must be clarified and any misunderstandings straightened out then and now. Everyone on the Board must agree before he would let it rest.
James Almond, with his “Santa Claus” beard, was similar in character to Pensom. Being the eldest director he had accumulated a little more experience. He had more patience than Pensom due to his thirteen children. He kept to his strong principles and could be firm when discussing an issue. He was sent to Ottawa to personally interview Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier on the circumstances, needs and provisions of the Barr Colony farmers.
Peter Sermuks, with his family moved to Lloydminster. Today, the city has a memorial of his craftsmanship in a handmade, five foot iron cross marking the grave of Delma Alpine, his fourteen-
Ernie Burton, very little is known about him. He represented Southminster and in 1920 moved to the U.S.A.
Mr. Dunning, the local agent for the Saskatchewan Co-
Lloydminster and District Agriculture Co-
This Association is now organized for business. Full information can be obtained from the secretary, Mr. T.A.A. Wright, at Mr. Daly’s office, Lloydminster, every Friday. (Sam Daly was the manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, the first bank in Lloydminster.)
The Times also printed 500 copies of the following circular letter on the new letterhead:
The above Association is now fully organized and will appreciate your interest and support. Our charter authorizes us to procure any supplies required and also to sell your stock or produce. The value of the Association to you will be limited by the support it receives. Shares are $25.00 each, $10.00 payable on allotment. The undersigned will be in town on Fridays to receive application and give information desired.
By 1915, January 13, it was apparent that a building was needed. The shareholders wanted their own building, so another 625 shares were declared open, the proceeds of which were to be used to buy real estate and a building. The directors liked the property owned by J. Walters of Edmonton. Today that site is just east of Meridian Avenue and directly north of the railroad tracks where the lumber yard is located. The lot ran from the tracks to the present 52nd Street. On February 23rd , 1915 at a meeting of the Board, William (Billy) Mackenzie offered his stable as a building for $100.00. He was willing to be paid with one fully paid-
The C.N. announced the track plan and the Co-
[Story recalled by Harry Messum concerning this purchase: The asking price was $13, 600.The conversation went like this:
“Well George, I hear you are selling the store.”
“That is correct, Mr Wright.”
“Just what are you selling it for?”
“I’m asking $13,600, Mr Wright.”
“Well just consider it sold, George,” said Wright, passing a cheque over the counter.
“But this is only for $13,000, Mr. Wright.”
“Oh, come now, George! $13,000 cash always is better than $13,600 on terms.”
“But I’m asking $13,600, Mr Wright.”
“Now, now George! You have things here that we’ll have no use for. Your account books, your stationary, your receipt book -
“But Mr. Wright, when a man sells his business, he sells everything, and I’m selling you everything and I’m asking $13,600.”
“Come now George! Reconsider; here is $13,000 on the barrel head.”
George Greening was incensed and his blood pressure was exploding. He went through his ledger and accounts swiftly and systematically. He decided that his business was actually worth $13,607.50. And that is what Mr Wright paid for it.]
This store stocked not only groceries but also a complete line of outfitting equipment. Outfitting was the early term for everything that wasn’t groceries, including hardware or saddlery. The Directors were anxious to build a new store. They moved the Co-
Farmers were asked to state what quantities of the things sold in the store that they would require and buy through out the year.
The list they would choose from was: barb wire, fence posts, plough shares, brace wire, groceries (we can sell case goods now), paints, blackleg vaccine, gopher poison, salt, coal, gasoline drums, stock & storage tanks, cement, household utensils, woven wire, corrugated roofing & siding, cereals, hardware, well casing & pipe, flour & feed, lumber & building material. As well, they could sell Farm Implements, such as: buggies, harrow carts, cream churns, ploughs, cultivators, incubators, steel eveners, wood eveners, garden tools, pumps, mowers, manure spreaders, drills, rakes, wagon gears, disc harrows, grain grinders, wagon boxes, diamond harrows, fanning mills, farm trucks, lever harrows, and cream separators.
A few of the prices:
Groceries: Pure lard, 3lb. $1.15; 5lb. $1.90
Bacon, 29c up
Ham, 36c per lb.
Honey, 10 lb. pail $3.35
Syrup, 10 lb. pail $1.25
Jams, Wagstaffe’s $1.00
Purity flour, $6.50 per 98 lb. bag
Samson flour, $3.80 per 98 lb. bag
Rolled oats, $2.45 per 40 lb. bag; $1.25 per 20 lb. bag
Holland herring, $1.90 per kit
Cut bone, 4c per lb.; $3.75 per 100 lb.
Oyster shell 3 1/2c per lb.; $3.25 per 100 lb.
Other Items: Pump jacks, $11.75 double geared; $10.00 single geared
Tank heaters, $9.25
Cement $1.35 per 100 lb. bag
Salt $4.85 per barrel; Pressed blocks .90c; Dairy butter salt $1.15 per 50 lb. bag
Hydrated lime, 65c per lb. sack
Empire wall board, $37.50 per M.
Medussa waterproofing, 20c per lb.
Empire wood fibre, $1.00 per 80 lb. Sack
Heating: Stove coal was used to heat the homes. Members were encouraged to buy the coal in the summer and store it in a dark water-
The new store:
Directors approved the building of a new store at the cost of $5000. However they had to wait for increased capital. Then in March the Scott Brothers were dissolving their partnership and selling their Northern Hardware store. Mr Sermuks, Mr Steele, T.A., and Frank Jones formed a committee to investigate buying the store and stock. The total price was $31,610.27 for the “best built store in town.” Now the Co-
In 1914, the total sales were $6,100, of that livestock sales were $4100. In 1919, the total sales were $378,000, of that were livestock sales of $299,000. The objectives of the consumer Co-
Problems within the organization:
Tough times after the First World War. The Founding Fathers began to leave the Board and their replacements perhaps were not as strong and visionary
When a department registered a loss, suspicions arose as to what was going on. Was it pilfering? Was it mice eating up the profits? It was true the mice spoiled many flour and sugar sacks. Was it poor accounting? A new accountant, S.F. Lows, a South African, was hired. The accounting system was a tedious and laborious, time-
Employees: In the early days, employees were not given holidays, and no sick days paid for. In 1924. they were given fourteen days holiday after one year of service, with the pay and time allowed left to the manager’s discretion. Paychecks were to be issued monthly, rather than semi-
A new manager, Howard Jones, came to the Co-
Scotty Davidson: was born August 3, 1876 in Scotland, just eight years after the organization of the Scottish Co-
After leaving school, he was apprenticed for six years in a shipbroker’s office in Aberdeen, spending the next ten years in the chartering and feed businesses. Following this he was the Aberdeenshire representative for the Molassine Meal Company until he left for Canada in 1909. Scotty arrived in Edmonton on April 1, 1909. He traveled for the Canada Dry Soft Drink Company for a year, followed by two years of service with wholesale fruit firms. In 1913, he got a job with Revillon Wholesale Ltd., and was the sales manager from 1914 to 1920. After a two year stint in the insurance business he moved his wife and family to Vancouver where he was sales manager for the Gregory tire and Rubber Company until 1927, when he came to Lloydminster. At age 51 Scotty became the become manager for the Co-
During the twenty one year span of working for the Co-
Expanding the Business under Scotty’s Leadership:
For 1927, Scotty proposed to house all the departments under one roof. Plans were drawn for a new addition to the Northern hardware Building, west of that store, having a new front, full size basement, stock elevators, a mezzanine floor for offices and restrooms. Tenders were called and A. J. Adkins of Westlock won with the lowest bid of $11,040 and the contract was signed on August 25, 1927. Mr Adkins bid proved to be too low; when completed in February the building cost $13,793.47. This was a difference of $2,234.68. The factors causing the increased costs were: the cold weather, which created higher consumption of coal, the cost of sand and gravel was higher and the amount spent for the water was enormous.
By 1929, the total amount invested by the Co-
Disaster: August 19, 1929 everything burned down in the “great fire”. The lumber yard and the buildings just north of the tracks were the only properties left. This was heart breaking, after using temporary buildings for so long, and to have their own permanent building for only two years and see it go up in smoke. After the fire, the Britannia Hotel property was bought for $4,500 for use until a new building could be built. A total of $76,771 was collected from the Insurance Co.
A new store was to be built by C. M. Miners Construction Company of Saskatoon. It was 117 x 100 feet, at an estimated cost of $36,000. It was to be finished in three months. Due to the onslaught of what would become known as the Great Depression, it was very difficult to obtain a mortgage of $20,000, but eventually after traveling over the country Scotty obtained a loan of $15,000 from the Bank of Commerce in Regina. The Bank of Commerce in Lloydminster was the “keeper of the purse” for the Co-
In 1930, with a new store and the Co-
Trends were changing, the “Outfitting Department” changed to “Men’s Wear’ and “Ladies Wear,” the more accepted terms. Since the Co-
A venture by the Co-
We, the Co-
Scotty continued on as manager of the local Co-
There came an end to a fabulous era of history. The curtain fell on the first act of what had been an interesting, turbulent and successful drama. Many of the original and early directors were deceased, retired, or were getting too old to carry on with the work of the Co-
New Management: Scotty made a plea on behalf of the staff who had given valuable and devoted service that before taking in an outsider to fill a vacancy, consideration should be extended to old employees. Also the Board decided to separate the positions of manager and secretary-
Changes under Kinney’s leadership:
There was an agreement with the Federal government on fair income tax assessment and a reprieve form the past unfair taxation. In 1952, (Feb.) the store was redecorated. There was approval to build a new wing, the grocery addition. The Credit Union wanted to build with the Co-
Kinney directed the board toward expansion into the field of furniture and appliances, which could be housed in the basement. By 1954 the organization was in serious trouble. Kinney and the Board had lost communication and discipline with the staff. They had been too lenient in permitting drinking on the premises. A loss of control resulted in power cliques and staff favouritism. A committee was sent to Saskatoon to interview the Personnel Department of Federated Co-
Colin Sandhurst succeeded Heeney as Manager in 1954. Sandhurst had gained considerable experience working at the Hudson’s Bay Company in Winnipeg. However he did not have a co-
He rebuilt the sloppy organization to a sound business venture. A compulsory savings plan was established that guaranteed member investments in the Co-
Sandhurst was not a Co-
Leon Doucet was appointed manager of the Co-
When he applied for the position in Lloydminster, he wrote:
I am well aware of some of the problems your Association has to contend with; I think I have the administrative ability, training, experience and drive to do the job you and your members have a right to expect from the management of a retail Co-
Progress under Leon Doucet: fresh meats into the grocery department, new modern produce counters were installed, lumber and hardware departments were re-
In 1958, the third Co-
Also under Doucet, the lumber yard got a face-
Doucet presented a five year plan for the Board to make major decisions, to tear down the old store and rebuild, or renovate the old premises. At an expense of $13,000 the Board allowed Doucet to employ a Chicago firm of department store engineers to prepare a detailed study of the Lloydminster trading area. The report stated that the present building could be renovated and that the prospects of development were such that the Co-
This same Co-
Despite fierce controversy, the grocery department was moved out of the “downtown”
and relocated on Highway 17 and 36 Street,
where it has proven to be an enormous success.
May 12, 1937
of His Majesty George VI
History of the Lloydminster & District Co-
This summary compiled by Dorothy Foster, Foster Learning Inc.