Opened in the 1940s as a food store operated by the United Farmers of Alberta in Calgary and eventually changing hands to the Alberta Co-operative Wholesale Association (ACWA) in 1951, the Calgary Co-operative Association was founded to operate the Calgary food store independently of the ACWA, partially due to member dissatisfaction with how the ACWA managed the venture. The Calgary Co-operative association purchased the Calgary store from ACWA in 1956 for $58,000.
Calgary Co-op is member-owned, and is one of the largest retail co-operatives in North America. With over 900,000 members, 3,500 employees, assets of $457 million and annual sales over $1.1 billion, Calgary Co-op is committed to lead in food; petroleum; home health care; pharmacy; wine, spirits, beer and travel. Calgary Co-op supports numerous not-for-profit and charitable organizations in Calgary (through the Co-op Community Foundation) by investing over $4 million into the local community each year.