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Community Co-op of Lake Park expands

Community Co-op of Lake Park nearly doubled its number of employees by merging with the Farmer's Union of Mahnomen in early February.

With the merger, Community Co-op took over two convenience stores in Mahnomen and Twin Valley. The acquisition also included the fueling operation, which provides propane and other fuels to the public.

Community Co-op also purchased the Cenex-Ulen Cooperative station in Flom.

All totaled, it expands Community Co-op's reach from the two stations it owned and operated in Detroit Lakes and Lake Park.

The merger also added 50 or so employees to the 70 employed by Community Co-op, General Manager David Blomseth said.

But most customers won't see much of a difference, at least right away.

"We're not going to spend a lot of money to change signs," Blomseth said.

He said changing the name of the company wouldn't change the way locals refer to it.

"To them, it will be the Farmer's Union building," Blomseth said.

The main motivation for the merger was to help position Community Co-op for the future, he said.

"It helps your buying and your bowering power," Blomseth said.

Blomseth said smaller operations might not have to cash flow to get through a tough economy.

Community Co-op of Lake Park has 5,000 to 6,000 members, Blomseth said, but only 200 members that produce in the agriculture producing members have voting rights.

He said throughout the years, members have received about $6 million back, and those dollars are put back into the community4