New Prairie North Co-op general manager has east central connection

MELFORT — The Prairie North Co-op’s new general manager, Terry Tremblay, has spent 26 years with the Co-op retailing system.

“I actually grew up on a farm on Barrier Lake, which is south of Bjorkdale, and my first job at a co-op was as a meat cutter in Tisdale at the Beeland Co-op,” Tremblay said “I started having family, and just through the progress of my career I ended up in the role of a general manager at a small co-op.”

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He would then spend three years as a general manager in Landis, Sask., before moving on to serve three years in Macrorie, Sask., and then six years in Carrot River.

“Those were small co-ops and you kind of do the job at that co-op, then go to one that’s a little bigger, and go to one that’s a little bigger,” Tremblay said. “Throughout that time I raised my family while we were moving from town to town every few years.”

After Carrot River he moved to Meadow Lake where he stayed for four years. After that he moved to Edmonton to work for Federated Co-op as a retail adviser. In that role, he would travel to northern Alberta and B.C., working with general managers and board of directors on strategic planning.

As a retail adviser, Tremblay was trained to manage larger co-ops that have multiple locations.

“I was fortunate that at the time I was ready to move out to retail, that the job out here at Prairie North Co-op opened up,” Tremblay said.

“The timing and location is perfect. I actually still have a cabin at Barrier Lake.”

He said he’s just now learning what he likes to do for leisure, as his hobby focus until recently has been mostly with his children. But with his kids, he did enjoy to go out fishing and spend time on lakes with his boar.

Now that his youngest child graduated high school while in Edmonton, he said he now has new leisure time to learn what he likes.

“I’m looking forward to spending time at the Mustangs games, the curling rink and just being involved in the community,” Tremblay said.

He said he believes community involvement is an important part of how a co-op functions.

“Once I got to a large organization I found less time to get personally involved but I really made it my focus to make sure the co-op is there when the community is having a major event.”

Some examples for him are the fair in Kelvington and Mustangs events.

“I try to make sure our branches and are people are able to be involved to a high level and when I was in Meadow [Lake] I personally got more involved in single time events,” Tremblay said. “I’m always looking for the opportunity to get involved when single events are happening, but more driven to make sure the Prairie North Co-op is present.”

Tremblay said that while he can’t see the future, he could see himself staying at his new location until he retires.

“I never say never because there’s always future opportunities and mergers and that kind of stuff but as of today, this job has lots to do that will keep me busy until my retirement, if they wish and if I wish.”

Tremblay started at the Prairie North Co-op on Sept. 9.

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