Cooperatives are managed by its members with the goal of obtaining better services for its members. The Caisses Populaires are certainly the best known cooperatives in the area. The Caisse populaire Saint-Jacques, of Hanmer, dates back to 1947. In its early stages, it had to overcome many obstacles which would sometimes halt its activities for a few years. However, it was never dissolved and its members reactivated it in 1959. In twenty years, the Caisse's assets grew from $20,000 to more than $8 million, and the number of its employees from one to nine.
In 1948, members of the farm circle organized a potato cooperative, which built a storage facility for sorting potatoes and distributing them to local and outside markets.
Once re-established, the Caisse populaire Saint-Jacques participated in economic development of the community in addition to offering banking services. It helped in the formation of new firms and the opening of businesses, some of which were also cooperatives. In 1975, the directors of the Caisse supported the organization of the Hanmer Food Cooperative, where the members were at once owners and clients. The Caisse also lent the necessary funds to establish a housing cooperative.
In the early 70s, when Hanmer found itself without a doctor, the manager of the Caisse, Mr. Guy Thibert, took matters into his own hands. He persuaded a doctor to come and settle in Hanmer if the village equipped itself with a medical centre. The Caisse undertook to build a medical centre in which it invested $125,000.
During 1963, a second Caisse populaire opened in Valley East - the Caisse populaire de Val Caron.
Material compiled from Hanmer.