Andover Business - Andover Consumer's Cooperative Inc.

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The Andover's consumer's Coperative was founded in 1938 by 3 young men, Russell Dimery, George Kimball, and Arthur McLean. It was patterned after the fist co-op store in Rochdale England. It was housed first in the Kimball/Mclean apartment in North Andover. The rules were one vote per person, sales at prevailing market prices, refunds from earnings based on purchases, and open membership based on buying shares of stock at $5.00 per share. When they moved to North Main Street they they acquired 25 members and a paid manager. In 1939 when they incorporated they had 53 members and weekly sales of $185. Some infuential Andoverites helped in the work of the store. In 1941 the store moved to Barnard Street, and, finally to 68 Main Street, their final location. In 1948 they bought the building and enlarged it in 1954 and 1960. Mary Argus was manager from 1943 to 1969. The Co-op joined with other cooperatives to build a wholesale warehouse. In the late 60s sales approached 10 million and over 3000 families were members. Then sales dropped and expenses multiplied. In 1974 the Co-op had an operating loss of $80,500 and needed $150,000 in new equity. It would require 30,000 more shares to be sold to raise this amount. In early 1974 these was an upsurge in stock purchases and sales as people tried to sustain the Co-op. In 1975 a letter was sent to stockholders recommeding liquidation. In April 1975 it was announced that the Co-op would close before summer. In May 1975 the Barcelos brothers bought the supermarket. When Barcelos closed, the space was occupied by CVS. When the Cooperative was liquidated in 1978 each of the 130 stockholders received $8.25 for each $5.00 share.

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