[ End of article ]

Finnish Co-operative Boarding Houses and Hotels in United States and Canada

V. S. Alanne

According to information obtained by the Northern States' League office, there are some 40-50 Finnish co-operative boarding houses and hotels in operation in the territory proper of the Northern States' Co-operative League, and probably 20-30 more elsewhere in the United States and in Canada. However, most of these boarding houses are small, unincorporated and rather unstable enterprises. Their instability is due, in the first place, to the fact that the members of these organizations are usually single men who often shift from locality to locality, either because they are compelled to do so on account of recurrent spells of unemployment, or because they wander about in search of better jobs or variety. This impermanency of the membership of the co-operative boarding house organizations is strikingly illustrated by the fact that in some cases only from five to ten per cent of the share-holding members of the incorporated boarding house companies are now patronizing their enterprise as boarders, and in hardly any case where the boarding house enterprise is a few years old the number of patronizing shareholders is more than 30-35 per cent of the total number of share-holding members. The rest have either moved to some other locality or, in a few cases, have married and established their own individual households.

We are publishing in this section tables which give the most essential figures concerning 13 leading Finnish co-operative boarding houses and hotels operated by incorporated societies while three are unincorporated.

The "Workers' Home" in Ironwood, Mich., is an interesting case, as most of the boarders belong to other nationalities than Finnish and still the manager and all the employees are Finnish. There are a few other cases where the boarders eating or residing in the boarding house are not exclusively Finnish.

Data on Finnish Co-operative Boarding Houses and Hotels for Year 1926
Table I

Name of Organization Location

Estab-
lished

Members

Volume of Business

Share Capital

Total Assets

Toivola Company Cloquet, Minn.

1910

280

$30,420.07

$7,000.00

-

The Rentola Company Duluth, Minn.

1913

160

15,713.70

9,272.40

14,57240

Toverila Company, Inc. Duluth, Minn.

1909

338

64,554.61

1,690.00

13,242.32

Junula Boarding Co. Ely, Minn.

-

40

17,000.00

-

-

Tarmo Trading Ass'n Eveleth, Minn.

1918

64

22,006.55

2,205.00

9,122.01

Toveri Co-op. Ass'n Gilbert, Minn.

1918

166

6,053.00

1,660.00

5,630.00

Workers' Co-op. Club Allouez, Wis.

1919

50

16,486.20

1,475.00

3,622.97

Tarmo Company Superior, Wis.

1912

252

30,884.87

4,270.00

22,783.80

Co-operative Toivo Co. Detroit, Mich.

1919

186

52,721.15

1,850.00

61,439.51

Workers' Home Ironwood, Mich.

1919

24

10,883.97

240.00

860.00

Finnish Co-op. Board. House Cleveland, Ohio

1916

129

43,569.74

1,296.00

22,529.54

Tarmo Club, Inc. New York, N. Y.

1922

152

100,000.00

-

35,000.00

Finnish Boarding House Timmins, Ont.

1914

35

18,208.89

-

-

Totals  

1876

 

$428,502.15

$30,958.40

$188,802.55

 (All of the above 13 co-op. boarding houses, except three, are incorporated. The unincorporated societies are: Junula Boarding Company of Ely, Minn., The Workers' Home of Ironwood, Mich. and the Finnish Boarding House of Timmins, Ontario.)

Some of the managers writing to us explain that their business has been much larger in former years, but changing conditions in the locality have driven most of their members and boarders somewhere else. The manager of the "Toveri Co-operative Association", for instance, states that a few years ago they were feeding an average of 56-60 people every day while the average number of boarders in 1926, of which year we have the latest information, was only 14. This great reduction in the number of boarders is considered to be due chiefly to a shut-down of mines in the locality.

Of course, the accounting in many of the smaller boarding house organizations is rather primitive and it is hard to get much statistical information from them. A few of the larger organizations, however, seem to have their bookkeeping in good shape, and at least two or three of them even departmentize their books, keeping separate accounts of their restaurant and their hotel activities.

Three of the thirteen co-operative boarding house societies from whom we have obtained statistical information own no real estate, while the total value of the real estate owned by the ten other boarding house societies amounted at the end of 1926 to $167,308.50. Four of the societies own real estate to the value exceeding in each case $15,000.00, and one society (The Co-operative Toivo Co. of Detroit, Mich.), shows a real estate value of $56,788.45.

Twelve of the thirteen societies employ a full-time manager. Only one boarding house (The "Workers' Home" of Ironwood, Mich.), is managed by a part-time manager. In three cases the manager is receiving less than $50.00 a month plus his board and room. In the case of four societies the manager's compensation varies from $60 to $75, plus free room and board. In four cases the manager is paid $100.00 a month plus free room and board, while in one instance he receives $160 a month besides a free room and board. In the last-mentioned instance the manager is called to take care of a business amounting to a little over $100,000 a year.

In the coming year the Northern States Co-op. League expects to pay closer attention than heretofore to this branch of the consumers' co-operative movement in the United States. We hope to be able to present to our Yearbook readers next year more comprehensive and more accurate information in regard to the Finnish co-operative boarding houses and hotels.

List of Finnish Co-operative Boarding Houses and Hotels in United States and Canada

MINNESOTA
Aurora Co-op. Boarding House "Jukola"
Biwabik Co-op. Boarding House "Toivola"
Bovey Kunto Club
Brainerd Vankala Company
Buhl Co-op. Boarding House "Rentola"
Chisholm Co-op. Boarding House "Pyrintö"
Cloquet Toivola Company, 1106 Ave. F.
Crosby Imatra Club, Box 27
Duluth Co-op. Boarding House "Koitto (People's Hotel), 246 S. Lake Ave.
The Rentola Company, 4 N. 59th Ave. W.
Toverila Company, 108 E. First St.
Ely Junula Boarding Company, Box 1067
Eveleth Tarmo Trading Association, 426 Monroe St.
Gilbert Toveri Co-operative Association, Box 476
Hibbing Co-op. Boarding House "Elanto"
Co-op. Boarding House "Apu"
International Falls Finnish Co-op. Boarding House
Keewatin Vesa Club
Kinney Co-operative Boarding House
Minneapolis Finnish Co-op. Boarding House
Mountain Iron Finnish Co-op. Boarding House
Nashwauk Elanto Company, Hotel Dept. or Elanto Boarding House
Sparta Co-op. Boarding House "Toivola"
Virginia Jukola Brothers' Boarding House
(24 Co-operative boarding houses in Minnesota)
MICHIGAN
Ahmeek Finnish Co-op. Boarding House
Bessemer Co-op. Boarding House "Rientola", Box H.
Crystal Falls Co-op. Boarding House
Detroit Independent Club, 590 E. Ferry
Co-operative Toivo Company, 291 Winder St.
Hancock Kansankoti Company
Iron River "Miners' Home" Boarding House, Box 558
Ironwood Co-op. Boarding House "Elanto", 434 E. Pine St.
Co-op. Boarding House "Pyrkivä", Newport Location
Workers' Home, 418 S. Suffolk St.
Ishpeming Co-op. Boarding House "Sovinto", 113 S. 2nd St.
Miners' Home, North Lake
Marquette Co-operative Boarding House "Oma Koti", Washington & 4th
Munising Pyrintö Company, 402 W. Munising Ave.
Negaunee Voimala Company, 302 Clark St.
Newberry Co-operative Boarding House "Turvala"
Pequaming Co-operative Boarding House
Painesdale Co-operative Boarding House "Rauhala", Box G.
Puritan Co-operative Boarding House "Pyrintö"
Ramsey Co-operative Boarding House
Sault Ste. Marie Finnish Co-op. Boarding House
South Range Finnish Co-op. Boarding House
Wakefield Finnish Co-op. Boarding House
(23 Co-operative boarding houses in Michigan)
WISCONSIN
Superior Tarmo Company, 1402 3rd St.
(Allouez) Workers' Co-operative Club, 312 39th Ave. E.
(2 Co-operative boarding houses in Wisconsin)
OTHER STATES
Mullan, Idaho Pyrintö Boarding House, Box 226
Zieqler, Ill. Home Boarding House, 511 Maple St.
Waukegan, Ill. Jyry Boarding House, 423 8th St.
Butte, Mont. Voimala Club, 476 E. Broadway.
New York City, N. Y. Tarmo Club, Inc., 2036 5th Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio Finnish Co-op. Boarding House, 3204 Clinton Ave.
Wilkesbarre, Pa. Co-op. Boarding House "Torppa"
Aberdeen, Wash. Peerless Club, 415 E. Wishkah St.
Hoquiam, Wash. Club Boarding House, 421 11th St.
Rock Springs, Wyo. Co-op. Boarding House "Jyry", 530 1st St.
(Total: 59 Co-operative boarding houses and hotels in United States)
CANADA
Nipigon, Ont. "Alku" Boarding House, Box 42
Port Arthur, Ont. "Hoito" Boarding House, 314 Bay St.
Timmins, Ont. Co-operative Boarding House, Box 520
(Total: 3 Co-operative boarding houses in Canada)

(The above list, comprising 62 Finnish Co-operative boarding houses in the United States and Canada, is not complete. Some boarding houses may have been omitted which are now in actual operation, while others that have gone out of business may be included in the list. In many cases the boarding houses did not pay any attention to our circulars and questionnaires and it was impossible to check up the list through personal visits. However, the above will help to give the reader an idea of the extent of this branch of the consumers' co-operative movement in our country. -Editors note.)

Data on Finnish Co-Operative Boarding Houses and Hotels for Year 1926
Table II

Order No. of Society

No. of Shareholders

No. of Boarding Members

No. of Eaters (Daily Average, 1926)

No. of Employees (Summer 1927)

Wages Paid 1926

Cost of Meals (May, 1927)

1

280

50

75

8

$4,496.65

$23.60

2

160

50

42

5

3,366.60

25.75 ($6.00 per wk.)

3

338

100

125

12

8,690.35

25.10

4

....

40

50

5

2,500.00

34.50 ($1.15 a day)

5

64

....

60

6

3,894.85

32.00

6

166

8

14

2

1,130.00*

36.00 ($1.20 a day)

7

50

14

52

5

1,983.90

26.75

8

252

60

75

8

4,970.00

25.75 ($6.00 per wk.)

9

186

35

75

7

8,159.81

35.45

10

....

24

27

3

1,680.00*

33.00 ($1.10 a day)

11

129

38

83

6

6,247.50

30.00

12

152

15

175

12

14,400.00

34.66 ($8.00 per wk.)

13

....

10

48

3

2,230.30

31.50 ($1.05 a day)
Totals  

444

901

82

$63,749.96

 

*Besides this, the employees receive their board and room free

Published in the Fourth Yearbook of the Northern State's Co-operative League. An Annual of Consumers' Co-operatives in the North Central States of the U. S. A., 1928, p. 259-263.

[ Beginning of article ]