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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-operative Association is one of the largest retail corporations in North America. Calgary Co-op has over 440,000 members, 3400 employees, assets of $441 million and annual sales over $1 billion. Calgary Co-op provides services in food, petroleum, home health care, pharmacy and travel. Calgary Co-op supports numerous not-for-profit and charitable organizations within the city.
Calgary Co-op is a member of Federated Co-operatives (FCL).
In August 2019, it was announced that Calgary Co-op had entered into an agreement for its groceries to be supplied by the Alberta arm of the Overwaitea Food Group (owner of commercial competitor Save-On-Foods) beginning in April 2020. The organisation stated that this change would "better serve members and ensure long-term sustainability". Calgary Co-op's High River grocery store will not be part of this change and will continue to be supplied by FCL, as will its petroleum and convenience store operations. FCL criticized Calgary Co-op's decision to switch to a private company as supplier, with its CEO Scott Banda stating that it was "sad to see them moving away from the Co-op family they've helped build".
- "Calgary Co-op to switch food supplier to Save-On-Foods". CTV News Calgary. 2019-08-27. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- "Calgary Co-op to source groceries from Save-On-Foods". Calgary Herald. 2019-08-26. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- MacPherson, Alex (2019-08-08). "FCL 'disappointed' by Calgary Co-op's decision to pull food purchasing". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Retrieved 2019-08-30.