History of the Settlers' Co-Op Trading Company
Around 1910 a group of mostly Finnish immigrants migrated to the area of Bruce crossing, paying for plots of land with their hard-earned logging camp wages. They realized that in order for their families to be able to acquire essentials they would need a cooperative, but felt they were not a large enough group to do it on their own. Therefore, they struck a deal with the Hancock Cooperative Store, resulting in the Bruce Crossing Co-op opening in 1917.
In 1918 it became clear that being a branch of Hancock would not be satisfactory because of the great distance between stores. It was then that the area people decided that they were strong enough to form their own independent co-op under the name Settlers Cooperative Trading Company. In 1922 a fire destroyed the original building and all the stock, and the co-op began doing business from a warehouse until the current store was built in 1939. Other branches that once existed under the cooperative were located in Ewen, Trout Creek, Paynesville and Mass City.
Today, only the Bruce Crossing store remains, and continues to provide for the community. Currently, Settlers’ Co-op includes a large grocery area, gas/convenience store, livestock and pet feed, gardening supplies, as well as hunting/fishing essentials including Bass Pro Shops branded products and a small line of Ace Hardware brands. Additionally, the co-op provides propane swap and commercial and residential delivery to a huge portion of the Upper Peninsula.