HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EARLY HISTORY OF CO-OP SERVICE l^5£
By - V. B. Robins
Co-op Service is a young institution, less than fifteen years old. It is true,
though quite unusual, that less than a half-dozen of its one-thousand active members
can recall the birth of Co-op Service. Ordinarily a great many people are involved
in the organisation of a cooperative. Only a handful laid the plans and made the decisions
which led to the opening of the 7th South Station and the eventual chartering of Co-op
Service as a genuine cooperative business.
Co-op Service had its real beginning in a meeting of the Board of Directors of
the Utah Cooperative Association on the evening of Janpary 10, 1941. Members of the
Board were Joseph A. Geddes, H. H. Cutler, Boyd Buchanan, E. H. Behling and A. E. Barley.
The group instructed UCA Manager V. B. Robins to investigate service stations available
for lease or purchase in Salt Lake City. It was decided that UCA would operate and manage
the station until a strong membership could be developed to take control of the business.
From that point events moved rapidly. Fifteen days later on January 25, 1941, a
special meeting of UCA's Executive Committee inspected several stations. A ten year lease
was signed on the corner property at 7th South and Main Streets in Salt Lake City. UCA*s
minutes say that the manager is "to establish an efficient, effective and inviting station
at that location in which members will be proud to participate."
At its next meeting on February 3, 1941 (nine days later) the Committee voted to
"build a canopy over all four pumps at an approximate cost of $550 and that total expenditures for equipment, building and lighting be limited to $3,500."
The high social purpose and unlimited idealism of the UCA Board members who founded
Co-op Service are clearly in evidence at every point in the record of its early history.
Committee members lived in such widely separate rural communities as Logan and Richfield.
None were residents of Salt Lake City. let they travelled frequently to Salt Lake City,
without pay, to guide and support the fledgling city cooperative which they envisioned
as a great people*s institution of the future.
Though UCA Itself was operating in barn-like rented headquarters and had total assets