Medford Cooperative puts emphasis on serving the community
The Medford Cooperative signed the articles of organization on March 31, 1911, making it among the oldest cooperatives in the state of Wisconsin. Like the formation of many cooperatives, it was envisioned that by buying cooperatively, the availability of goods and services could be assured, a concept of a company owned by the people, for the people.
During its history, expansion and development of the Medford Cooperative has taken place frequently. In 1981 the Medford Co-operative Company and the Stetsonville Farmers Union Co-op consolidated to form the Medford Cooperative, Inc.
A new feed mill was built in 1984. The mill was one of the first in Central Wisconsin to contain a computerized grain measuring system and state-of-theart equipment to provide custom blending for producers.
In 1989 the supermarket opened in its new location in the Medford Plaza and in December of 1989 the hardware department joined them. These two departments, all under one roof, now provide over 73,000 square feet of shopping space for customers.
In the spring of 2009, the Medford Cooperative purchased land and a building located on Highway 13, remodeled the building, and in September of 2009, opened the Center which houses a convenience store, along with additional retail space.
The Medford Cooperative currently employs over 200 people and has annual sales in excess of $85,000,000. Employees range in age from 16 to 70 years of age and are the greatest asset within the company.
The Medford Cooperative has benefited from strong leadership.
Chip Courtney has been the general manager of the Medford Cooperative since 1989. Over those 31 years, the cooperative’s sales have climbed from $11 million in 1989 to current sales of $85 million and from 110 employees to 220.
Courtney has also been a strong leader in the Medford community.
He has been on the Medford Ducks Unlimited banquet committee for 21 years, the Taylor County Sportsmans Club for 30 years including serving as president twice, the Medford Area Chamber of Commerce board for 15 years including several officer positions, active with the Taylor County Association of Cooperatives for 31 years including serving as past president, serving on the Stetsonville Cooperative Transport board of directors for 31 years with 12 years as board president. He has been a member of the Medford Kiwanis Club for 31 years and is a past president, has been a member of the Medford Area Economic Development foundation for 18 years, served on the United Way of Taylor County board for 5 years including being campaign co-chair two years, has served on the Wisconsin DNR Citizens deer advisory committee four years, served on the Memorial Member Association (Memorial Hospital) board for 10 years serving four years as board chairman, the Aspirus Medford Hospital and Clinics board of directors for 10 years and board chair for four years, three years on the Aspirus Extended Services board of directors, three years on the Aspirus Wausau Hospital board of directors and nine years on the Aspirus, Inc. (Wausau) board of directors where he currently serves as board chair.
Courtney has also been recognized in the community receiving the 1994 Person of the Year Award and the 2009 Lifetime Achievement award from the Medford Area Chamber of Commerce.
He and his wife, Sue, have four children and six “sweet and lovable grandkids.”
Under Courtney’s leadership, the Medford Cooperative has instilled a culture of community involvement where employees are actively encouraged to take part in community activities and projects.
Courtney said that when they look to give community support they pay special attention to the ones in which their employees take leadership. “We really try to go the extra miles to support those organizations,” he said. He noted they have employees who are involved in just about every organization, from local churches to scouting organizations and service clubs.