Contact us:
Phone 908-359-5173
Fax 908-359-723
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The History of the Belle Mead Co-Op

Yes. We're open to the public, but here's the story of our past.

Still serving the community for over 90 years, the Belle Mead Co-Op
has seen a lot of changes since its incorporation in 1920.  The store was known as The Club prior to 1920.  The large barn in front of the store was constructed at the turn of the century and was operated for the club as a hay press.  The press was powered by horses in the cellar and the farmers would bring loose hay here to be pressed into bales and loaded on railroad cars.  That same barn now proudly displays eighty four solar panels that supply the business with a good portion of its electricity.  The railroad sidings gave the store its unique shape as they ran behind the store and to the front and rear of the old barn.  Rail cars would load up on coal and water here, then pick up hay to take up north to the horse farms.

The front retail store was opened in 1953 and three years later, a fire in the feed mill destroyed 45 tons of grain.  In 1998, the Co-Op purchased eight acres of property from the Elizabethtown Water Company in order to expand its landscape supply offerings.  Over the next few years, we purchased the two small lots adjacent to the store.  The large duplex was deconstructed in order to expand the nursery operation and the smaller cottage is maintained as a residence.

In 2001, the store changed its status from a Farmers Cooperative, incorporated under the Farmers Cooperative Act of 1920, to a limited liability company or LLC.  The change was necessary because as a co-op, the company had to distribute dividends to all of it patrons.  This was impossible ever since the store opened to the public.  As the store was now profitable, it became necessary to distribute dividends once again and in order to do that, a change was needed.  Now, the new company, The Belle Mead Farmers  llc Dba. Belle Mead Co-op, is comprised of the descendants of the original founding members and other member patrons that were in place at the time of the change.

The Co-op now offers a complete line of feeds, from hamster to horse.  We carry many name brand feeds for farm animals as well as most of the leading pet food lines.  We were the oldest, still operating, cooperative in the state until we changed our corporate structure to an llc.  Our feed mill is still in operation today and continues to supply feed for farmers in the area.  In return, we purchase  hay, straw, corn, oats, wheat and even farm fresh eggs locally.

We are a complete lawn & garden center, with a knowledgeable staff on hand, to answer all your questions.  Our nursery area has expanded over the years and includes many unusual plants and a complete water gardening department.  In addition, we have an extensive supply of mulch, soil and stone products, both bagged and bulk.  The Co-Op has grown and changed to meet the needs of the surrounding community.

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