Co-Op history

It seems that the days of "Mom & Pop" stores, where the customers are known by their names rather than as a number, are disappearing quickly.  Smaller stores find it difficult to compete with the prices that the bulk buying mega-stores are able to offer.


You'll find the best of both worlds at the Essex County Co-Operative Farming Association.   Back in 1917, after loss of profits and rising cost of equipment and supplies, local farmers in Essex County banded together to find a solution.  The founding farmers formed the association to purchase larger quantities of farm supplies at a lower cost.  These bulk purchases enabled them to aid struggling farmers in the area. 


Today, the Co-Op is an old-fashioned country store that supports the farming community by selling locally grown plants and flowers as well as quality seeds, fertilizers, and animal feeds at the lowest possible prices.  The Co-Op carries a wide range of pet foods and supplies plus clothing and gifts.  We also fill propane and carry bulk landscaping materials like loam, mulch and compost. 


The store is open to the public 7 days a week and offers a large variety of items along with the charm and individual attention of a "Mom & Pop" store. 


Have you seen the Co-Op lately?

Arbor Day Oak Tree at Co-Op

Essex Co-Op

100th Anniversary Commemorative Video

The Arbor Day Oak Tree at Essex Co-Op was recently discovered and judged to be over 400 years old.  This white oak tree probably alive when the first settlers moved into the area in 1600's.  

In June 2019 the Topsfield Historical Society researched the importance of this oak tree and worked to get it recognized as an area treasure.  Two informational plaques were designed and placed in front of the tree so visitors would know about its significance.

The tree bore silent witness to the unfolding history of the Topsfield area including:

1652 Towne family establishes their home and farm near the Ipswich River

1597 local residents built a blockhouse wooden defense structure on the grounds of what is now the Topsfield Fairgrounds to defend themselves during the French and Indian War

1776 Topsfield Revolutionary war soldiers marched off to battle in Concord and Lexington

1803 Newburyport Turnpike (now Route 1) was built

1818 Essex County farmers established the Essex Agricultural Society 

1850s Treadwell Farm given to Essex Agricultural Society

1850 railroad was built between Danvers and Topsfield

1917 Essex Cooperative Society was established

Arial photo of Essex Co-Op
1927 coop truck
warehouse no 4
warehouse no 3
Essex Co-Op
warehouse 2
main office and warehouse
karl smilin thru
charlie delivers the goods
cash and carry
the fleets in
1990s newspaper article