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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Cornerstone Co-op Celebrates Grand Opening Of Home And Agro Centre In Wainwright


Cornerstone Co-op team members and invited guest at the wood cutting/grand opening of the new Home and Agro Centre. Photo Sue Chikie

Cornerstone Co-op celebrated the grand opening of their new Home and Agro Centre in Wainwright with a wood-cutting ceremony, instead of the traditional ribbon cutting on April 13. The 16,090 square feet centre includes a contractor entrance and project desk, a garden and seasonal centre, oil and grease assortments, feed and agriculture products, and a 10,000 square foot drive-through in the lumber storage building. To celebrate the grand opening, the store offered daily door prizes, free coffee and cake, and free hot dogs and drinks until April 16th.

The Cornerstone Co-op Home & Agro Centre is a significant addition to the community of Wainwright. The grocery, petroleum, car wash, C-Store, liquor store, and the Home & Agro Centre are now known as the “Wainwright’s Cornerstone Common.”

Kory Kralkay, Director of Operations for Cornerstone Co-op, opened the ceremonies by acknowledging that they were on Treaty 6 Territory and paying respect to the indigenous nations and Metis whose footsteps marked these lands for centuries. Kralkay also introduced himself as the MC and welcomed the Co-op owners, guests, teammates, team members, and neighbours to celebrate the new addition to the Cornerstone family.

Graham Getz, General Manager for Cornerstone Co-op, took the microphone and thanked the attendees for coming out on this beautiful morning.

“Today is a fresh day for Cornerstone Co-op, and a fresh day for the town of Wainwright,” Getz said. He then welcomed the Co-op owners, invited guests, board of directors, and their amazing team to the grand opening.

Getz expressed his pride in officially unveiling the first of its kind in Western Canada - the Wainwright Home and Agro Centre, as well as celebrating the completion of their Cornerstone Common Power hub. He quoted former GM of EastAlta Co-op, D.W. Gill, from 1971, “I feel very confident that with the support of the future as well as the support we have seen in the past we can look forward to real progress and success in the new centre.” Getz emphasized the power of Co-op and the generations of support that the Co-op has seen in Wainwright. “That’s when the new food store opened in Wainwright, and these words stand true today, 52 years later, and just shows the power of Co-op and the generations of support that this Co-op has seen in Wainwright,” Getz said.

He thanked all of the owners for providing their ongoing support since the Co-op was formed in Wainwright in 1944, as well as the local communities for their long-standing support over the generations. Getz also thanked the owners, contractors, ag producers, and customers who had patiently been waiting for 15 plus years for a centre such as the new Home and Agro Centre.. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the location team led by Cinzia, Tammy, James, and Dave, as well as Federated Co-op, our neighbouring Co-ops, and the entire Cornerstone Co-op team from all communities and locations for their help with the transition from their old location to their new one. He also thanked the past and the current board of directors for their strategic guidance, insights, support, and vision for the Cornerstone Power hub in Wainwright, and specifically for approving the $8.8 million project.

Lastly, Getz thanked the leadership team who brought this world-class project to life, which positioned Cornerstone Co-op to be vital and sustainable in Wainwright for the long term. He also thanked the Town of Wainwright, GVN Structures, and all of their local contractors, including Battle River Electric, Warawa Heating and Plumbing, Battle River Transit Mix, Buffalo Venture, Bel Contracting, Holt Transport, and Provost Glass and Door for their cooperation and construction of the world-class facility in a safe manner.

Getz continued by speaking on the successes of the Co-op, “Co-op is a different kind of business, today is about being proud of our Co-op, our roots, our history, and our future. Today is about being proud and celebrating that we are 100 percent local. Cornerstone has grown to over 32,000 active owners and members operating in 24 locations in eight communities. We are purpose-driven and built on a legacy of focusing on communities that are vital at building, feeding, and fueling our owners,” said Getz.

Getz also explained how their success enables the Co-op to reinvest earnings back into the communities and the people they serve. In 2022 Cornerstone donated almost a quarter million dollars back into their local community teams, schools, mental health programs, and non-profit groups. He stated that they gave back by volunteering almost 1400 hours to local fundraising events and to local community groups.

“We gave back by paying out to our member-owners over $3 million in cash back and equity which will happen at the beginning of May. If you combine our community giving programs along with our equity and cash back programs that equals almost $10,000 a day for every day that we were in operation in 2022. In my opinion, an accomplishment that’s simply put no other local organization could do,” commented Getz.

In conclusion, Getz commented how the Co-op shield which is donned on the front of the centre is a beacon that represents trust, traditions, togetherness, and pride, and thanked the legacy owners that had gone on before them for their forward-thinking and resiliency in the spirit of cooperation and dedicated the Cornerstone Common in Wainwright to the original owners from 1944.

“They built us a strong foundation that is locally owned and stands the test of time. Today is about recognizing our hard work and celebrating our Co-op and honouring the past, and beginning new experiences,” Getz said.

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