Pioneer CO-OP

History - 1973


During 1973 discussions continued throughout the year regarding possible options for expansion. In March the board agreed to engage the F.C.L. retail division regarding this expansion. Also during 1973 Pioneer became involved for the first time in the Chargex program. The board made the decision in May to rent the Laycock Drug Store on Central Avenue. Discussions regarding expansion indicated that the 4th N.W. property was too costly for us to develop by ourselves. It was obvious that there was going to be development on the north side of the city and the recommendations from Federated was that we should become involved as part of that development. Pioneer Co-op was involved (in financial terms) in supporting an engineering study at the comer of No. 1 and 4 Highways, which is now the present site of the mall. The F.C.L. development group reported that the mall at that point would cost something in the order of $5.4 million including a service station. At this point Trojan Properties of Calgary met with Pioneer and asked the board to go in with them in the presentation to the city. The board declined and made their own presentation to the city. The Trojan proposal was accepted by the city and in November 1974 Pioneer began rather lengthy negotiations with them to become part of the Mall. Initial discussions with Trojan indicated that they would allow Pioneer to own their own service station and department store but rent the space for Pioneer food and drugs from Trojan properties. The board felt that they could not go into this sort of deal without owning rather than leasing the food and drug space. The impasse with Trojan continued into 1974 and in February 1974 the board became aware, when it was officially announced that the new government building would be built on block 68, (present location of the E.I. Wood building), and there would be some real advantage in attempting to develop a Pioneer Department store at 4th N.W. In March 1974 they made the decision that they would attempt to put together the land in that area and develop their own centre at 4th West. However by April it became obvious that developing there was going to cost in excess of $1 million more than to go with the Trojan group north of the city. Again after considerable discussion and many meetings in the first half of 1974 the board at the end of June 1974 finally decided to go ahead with Trojan if a suitable agreement could be reached. Pioneer Co-op owns the service station, department store (including groceries and drugs) and also several acres of the parking lot. Along with all the discussions regarding the Trojan deal in 1974 there were a number of other things happening during this year. There was approval of an expansion of the Kyle lumber area. Amalgamation with Hodgeville was finalized. There was a decision to go ahead with food in the Neville operation. The Gull Lake Farm Centre opened up during May 1974. There was a decision made to purchase the Wilf Caswell building, a garage type building on Cheadle West with the idea that down the road it would become the future downtown service station for Pioneer. A decision was made to consolidate the operation in Hodgeville, moving the store to the farm centre. In September 1974 the piles for the Mall started to be poured with completion August 1975. There was a decision made to include a service bay in the new Kyle Farm Centre and a decision made to buy J.O.E. Mutual which was a garage shop in Main Centre. This was later purchased and then leased to a private operator. The Kyle Farm Centre was completed

January 31, 1975. Renovations were completed at the Farm Centre at Hodgeville. The store including groceries at Neville was completed in late 1974. 1975 - Still a number of things in the works including the continuing construction of the new mall and also a decision made to rent the

Gibson Hardware in Tompkins from the town for about one year. There was discussion about ways of disposing of the Central Ave. property once the mall was opened. One of the possibilities was to limit the operations at Central Ave. to a coffee bar, drug store and possible confectionery. This decision was later followed through on. It was decided to lease the 4th West service station to the Swift Current School Unit and that meant that the Caswell building on Cheadle West which had been rented out to this point would be used as a service station for Pioneer Co-op. The decision was made in late January 1975 to advertise the Central Ave. building for sale. By July 1975 the Mall was nearing completion or at least the Pioneer portion of it. The Mall had now been christened officially the Wheatland Mall and Pioneer set the opening for employees, board and branch committees on August 23 and to out of town guests. City of Swift Current, Chamber of Commerce, government, retail management, etc. on Sunday, August 24th. The opening was held on August 26th and was a total success. Consideration was also given at the same time for the need to do some renovations at the Southside store so that it wouldn't have its traffic drawn completely away by the mall. The decision to do some renovations there but to do them in stages. By November 1975 the service station at the mall was opened.

By 1976 a decision was made to do some renovations to the Gull Lake store. There was talk about constructing a Farm Centre west of the city near the Peavy Mart; to extend the lease of the 4th West service station to the school unit; to close out the hardware in Tompkins retaining the regular store and to do some further renovations to the southside. Also in October 1976 Pioneer's banking was transferred from the Bank of Nova Scotia to Western Savings and Credit Union. In late 1976 the building at 4th West was leased for three years to Cypress Hill Community College. 1977 - The board directed a great deal of their attention to disposing of some of the property in the downtown area now that the mall was open and with that in mind they offered six - fifty foot lots to S.G.I, on 3rd West, the location where they now have their claims centre. They also sold property on North Railway Street and they advertised the Central Ave. property for sale. There were no takers at this point. 1978 - Some further renovations were made at the southside with the drug store being moved into the hardware area and the store xpanding into the old bakery area as well. They also ended up selling lots 5-10 and the service station on 4th N.W. 1979 - In January the board made a decision to renovate the present warehouse at the mall and to expand it and include administration offices. With this in mind they were able to, in June, okay the selling of the 4th West property to Tekia Developments and the agreement included an opportunity for Pioneer to rent for one year. Decision was also made in 1979 to close out the Main Centre branch. In October 1979 Pioneer was able to sell the C.I. property at 11th and Chaplin to the School unit. In late October 1979 they began to examine the possibility of purchasing the Big Budd property which was north of the Peavy Mart to build a farm centre. The mall expansion, extra warehousing and offices were completed in later October. Also in late October, new pumps were installed at the service station at the Mall. This made it possible for Pioneer to provide diesel as well as other fuels. In 1980 the Central Ave property was sold in March to the City of Swift Current with plans to completely vacate by October 1980. The Big Budd property was also purchased in early 1980 and about June 1980 the board began to talk about changes to the Southside and further renovations there. In August 1980 - First discussion of plans regarding a new farm centre out on the Big Budd property with a bulk fertilizer plant to be the first item constructed at the site. The new cafeteria was opened at the southside December 1, 1980 and the other renovations at the southside completed by the end of January 1981. 1981 - March 1st the building at the Budd property was in operation, handling such things as herbicide, twine, seeds, loaders, parts and short line machinery.



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