More than 12,000 vehicles a day can drive by the Granite Trading Association building during the summer.
Many who stop, be it for gas, groceries or one of its famous ice-cream cones, will likely know the place as the Tappen Co-op.
While it hasn’t always been at its current location, the co-op has been serving the Tappen area for a century. Next month, this community hub will be recognizing its centennial with three days of celebration, open to co-op members and the general public alike.
On Thursday, June 4, from 3 to 5:30 p.m., the co-op will have First Nations dancers, cake and stories and “100 cent” ice-cream cones. The next day, June 5 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. there will be a vintage car show, displays from the Deep Creek Tool Museum, the Notch Hill Museum, needle arts demos and more. On Saturday, June 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the co-op has lined up several events for the whole family. From 10 to 1 there will be kids activities including Trixie the Clown. Live music by the Retro Rebels is scheduled between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Ernie Philip will be sharing his joy of dance with a First Nations Fancy Dance demonstration between 2 and 2:30 p.m. In addition, there will be historical displays and a barbecue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In preparation for the centennial, the co-op’s board of directors set up a website at tappencoop.ca. It features a 100-year timeline by the decade. With a mix of photos and meeting minutes, the website shows how the co-op evolved from the Association of Tappen Farmer’s Exchange to the Granite Trading Association, officially formed on April 27, 1915.
In the 1930s, the farmer’s exchange building was replaced with a new, larger store, located just east of the current location. That store served the Tappen community until the mid-1950s, when a new store was built that could be accessed from the Trans-Canada Highway that was under construction.
Tappen Co-op manager Andy Munro notes that while the store’s footprint hasn’t changed much since then, the commodities it carries has.
“We used to do feed, we used to do hardware, we had meat in here and all that kind of stuff,” said Munro. “But as people got more mobile, now I won’t say it’s like a convenience store – it’s a little bit bigger than that, but that’s mainly what it had to do to continue. And then those ice cream things we sell in the summer are what helps us get through the year. That’s such a big draw.”
Asked how he sees the co-op’s future unfolding, Munro said one of the biggest challenges is access off the highway, and not knowing exactly how the province will upgrade that stretch of the Trans-Canada.
“I often wonder in the summer how many more people would turn into here if we had better access. Hopefully that will come, but it’s been hard for us to plan any major changes to this, not knowing, if they ever do upgrade the highway, if it will even be where it is. And that bridge by us, if they fix that up, what’s going to happen?”