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Beach Co-op in business for 100 years

The main elevator bins and storage elevators. (Photo Courtesy of Beach Co-op)1 / 2
The cement elevator built in the late 1990s. (Tierny Hamlin / The Dickinson Press)2 / 2

BEACH—The Beach Cooperative Grain Co. will ring in their century of dedication to serving farmers this coming August.

"We are really excited about the progress we have made over the last 100 years and with the expansion of this pulse plant, we're really excited about the future of Beach Co-op." said general manager Levi Hall, "We are in an extremely sound setting right now and think we will be around another 100 years."

Small towns are usually kept up and going by small businesses around town and Beach Co-op does just that, employing 12 in Beach and two at the Baker, Mont., location.

Due to being a smaller town, Beach Co-op is the only elevator this town of 1,094 residents. Elevators are one of the few businesses that can keep going because of all the local people that are in the farming industry.

"Being the local elevator, we give farmers an option to take their grain here rather than having to go all the way to Glendive or Gladstone," Hall said.

The elevator first began in 1918 by J.D. Halstead and J.M. Still, the first president and vice president of the co-op. The manager at the time was W.L. Zimmerman.

Hall said that the wood elevator on the property is from the 1920s-'30s, their cement elevator is from the late '90s and the main office was built in 2012.

The operation currently stores around 1 million bushels but the newest project of a Pulse Plant will add 300,000 bushels of storage for peas and chickpeas. Other commodities the elevator takes in are corn, winter wheat, spring wheat, durum and lentils.

"I think elevators in every community are really important," Hall said. "We have 14 employees here."

The co-op is in the early stages of having a centennial celebration for the achievement of 100 years but management is thinking of having it during the Golden Valley County Fair and the Spirit of the West on the first weekend in August.

"It would be a little sooner than the actual 100th but we would like to do something for the community because everyone in the community has known someone who has worked here," Hall said, "or they have helped a farmer and done some business here or maybe they've even bought some chemical for their yard."

Hall said that most people in Beach have been around the elevator or in contact with its employees. This connection to the community is what drives the co-op to have its celebration for the town.

The co-op's annual meeting is held every September on the last Tuesday of the month.