Moose Mountain Meats Co-operative Ltd. held its grand opening on Wednesday, June 20; though they have been selling retail meats since Jan. 31 and by the third week of February were killing on site for custom processing, they waited for warmer weather to welcome everyone.
They are located just south of Wawota on the east side of the 603 Grid. A co-operative that will help meet the needs of Wawota and the surrounding area. Despite the overcast and rainy day, people enjoyed the grand opening immensely. Youth played in mud puddles and everyone ate a delicious hamburger made on site.
Currently they are selling sausage and hamburgers that are locally sourced with the intention of selling a majority of local products in the future. They source meat currently from places such as Esterhazy, “which for us is still fairly local.” Ken Wilson, chairman, stated.
The project was initiated in the fall of 2008 when a group of community members came together discussing the need for a local butcher who did custom work. The store in Wawota had changed hands and the decision was made to discontinue this service.
A group of community members, therefore, took the initiative to look into the cost of a new facility.
“We had meetings and were advised to do the leg work. Find out the cost of it and size needed. We wanted at least fifty percent of the projected cost in place before proceeding. Then we got the green light.” Wilson explained. “Once there we started dealing with the health department, CFIA, basically all the regulations. Once our plan was in place we approached the bank, got a loan, and hired a contractor.”
As a co-operative people have the ability to buy a common share at $1,000. Shareholders are able to purchase as many as they like, but are limited to one vote per member. When dividends are paid out, however, each share held is treated exactly the same.
“It’s a community co-operative that serves the surrounding area not just this particular community.” Wilson said.
It is still considered a work in progress by those involved, but with community support and corporate sponsors as far away as Calgary they have hope that their vision will be reached.
“Everyone involved, interested, and shareholders should be very proud of our achievement. We’re here to serve everyone to the best of our abilities and enhance the entire area.” Wilson exclaimed.
Serving hamburgers from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. they saw hundreds of people flock for a burger or two. Five hundred patties were set aside at the beginning of the day for the event. By 5:30 p.m. they had served 300 and more people were still arriving for a taste. Many people that had been there earlier in the day were back by 6 p.m. and others also arrived for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. they hope to see you there.