Rudyard Co-op Among Three To Close Its Doors
Everything that has a beginning eventually has an end. For the Rudyard Co-op feed store, the end came last Wednesday, as it and the co-operatives in Cheboygan and Indian River closed their doors for the final time February 6.
The Cheboygan Co-operative owned all three stores. A lack of profitability led to the final closure of all three locations, according to company general manager Leroy Ormsbee.
“It’s a shame,” Mr. Ormsbee said. “Personally, I loved what I was doing and hated to give up such a job. We didn’t have the cash flow or the gross income to make it work.” He added that the family has appreciated the support of the local communities at each business.
Mr. Ormsbee said the organization grew out of the original Cheboygan feed store location that opened in 1946. The Rudyard feed store opened in 1999 or 2000 and the Indian River feed store was the newest of the three. Each store had two employees, with all six now out of work.
The closure of the three co-ops leaves an unrelated food co-op in Kinross and a feed mill in Pickford to serve the needs of area farmers. Mr. Ormsbee added he believes it is likely a new supplier is eventually going to pop up in the Rudyard area.
Mr. Ormsbee said his son is looking at starting a few “speed stores,” a smaller co-op style location with no grinding or mixing, but he doesn’t know if he’ll take part in it.
With the demise of the co-ops, Mr. Ormsbee said the lien holders have taken control of all three structures, with the Rudyard building now under the control of the Sault Ste. Marie co-op. He said he expects the building to be leased out again to a new occupant.
Grocery co-operatives in the area are operated independently of the feed stores and are not affected by their closure.