Moose Lake Cooperative to Close After 97 Years
The Co-op General Manager Says the Store is Closing Due to Rising Debt, Diminishing Revenue and a Unprofitable Fertilizer Season
MOOSE LAKE, Minn. – After much thought, the Board of Directors tell FOX 21 with a diminishing source of revenue, an unprofitable fertilizer season and mounting debt, it’s time to say farewell after 97 years in the agriculture industry.
Customers and employees now share a lack of words as they continue coming into the Moose Lake Cooperative.
“We’ve had an account here forever,” said longtime customer Mike Anderson.
Customers like Anderson are now trying to picture what the town will be like without such a staple.
“I think not just myself but everybody in the area was actually shocked,” said Anderson.
It’s a reality over 20 employees and hundreds of customers will soon face.
“It’s very disappointing actually because we use all of their buildings, all their services,” said Anderson.
Since the 1920s the farming facility has offered a variety of goods and services.
“It’s going to be missed, it’s as simple as that,” said Anderson.
Starting with milling local feed, the Co-op grew rapidly, introducing a country store, tire shop, full service fertilizer department and even a gas
“In a bigger town if they lost something like this it probably gets replaced,” said Anderson. “It’s irreplaceable the Coop in Moose Lake.”
However, Anderson says his community will push through.
“This Co-op was here for their grandparents and their great grandparents and they’re really shook up about seeing a loss,” said General Manager Joel Marcott.
Marcott is going on three months at the job.
“Unfortunately the economic landscape shifted underneath the community,” said Marcott.
He says he didn’t expect this to happen so quickly.
“40 years ago there were 30 to 40 dairies that the Cooperative serviced and today we’re servicing seven dairies.”
Marcott says whether the Co-op provided you a first job or you happen to be a lifelong employee, now is the time to share memories.
“A lot of our employees have been here 25 to 30 years; this is all they’ve done,” said Marcott.
“The town is always going to be here, Moose Lake is iconic,” said Anderson.
No definite closing date has been announced. The Cenex Service Station will continue offering gas with reduced hours and staff.
The feed store will operate with reduced inventory, and the fertilizer center will close on Thursday, November 30.
The Co-op says they’re actively looking for buyers to purchase the buildings on the property.
So far, Marcott says they have had a good amount of interest.