Consumers’ Cooperatives in the North Central States


Leonard C. Kercher, Vant W. Kebker, and Wilfred C. Leland, Jr.
Edited by Roland S. Vaile

Consumers’ Cooperatives in the North Central States was first published in 1941. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

“Comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of the region having the longest history of successful consumer cooperation.”

“Detailed case histories to 1940 of typical retail units and leading wholesale organizations.”

“Practical recommendations and thoughtful criticism, useful to cooperatives and cooperators everywhere.”

No other book on this subject is so rich in reliable facts, objective reporting, and comprehensive treatment as this study. It is based on extensive first-hand investigation by trained research men, with figures brought down to 1940.

Case histories of the 3 leading wholesales and 15 local societies typical of some 800 in the region are included. Each discusses the origin, growth, membership, trends of operation, buying methods, price levels, advertising, financial organization, personnel, patronage returns, ratio of annual earnings to total assets and net worth, relations with other cooperatives in districts and regional federations for education, recreation, insurance, credit, etc. Every phase of operation of these carefully selected cases is expertly analyzed and described. Many are summarized with recommendations for future action.

Of special value are the discussions of types of cooperatives, the analyses of basic community factors involved in successful cooperation, the suggested solutions for problems of organization and management, and the long-range view of possibilities for price regulation and customer satisfaction.

Leonard C. Kercher was professor of sociology at Western State Teachers College, Michigan. He spent over four months in 1937 making an intensive field study of twenty local retail stores in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to obtain first-hand information from managers, members, customers, and townspeople. He made a similar investigation of the parent wholesale of this group of locals – the Central Cooperative Wholesale of Superior, Wisconsin. In 1940 he revisited and restudied every angle of each case.

Vant W. Kebker, former instructor in marketing at the University of Kansas, discusses the significance of the cooperative movement in its relation to American economic problems. He has weighed the characteristic features of cooperatives with a view to improving their effectiveness as a control in the economy in which they operate.

Wilfred C. Leland, Jr. was instructor in economics at the University of Minnesota. His analysis of the two great Midwest wholesales, the Midland Cooperative and the Farmers’ Union, is based upon a thorough personal investigation of their organizational and financial structure.

Roland S. Vaile, the editor of this volume, was professor of economics and marketing at the University of Minnesota, editor of the Journal of Marketing, and author or co-author of a series on retail distribution and other books on our national economy.

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