Home  Christian School Buying History

The Co-op was begun about 35 years ago by three principals in the South Kent County area near Grand Rapids, Michigan. These three principals, Ben Bonnema, Byron Center Christian, John Borst, Cutlerville Christian, and Bill Kool, South Christian High, found it advantageous to buy paper together for their schools. They soon found that by placing one order for all the supplies for the three schools they could make a significant savings. Within a short time they included many of the Christian schools in the West Michigan area increasing their buying volume and saving money for all the schools. Orders were sent into Ben in late spring, after which he would compile orders and contact vendors for the best prices. Supplies were shipped to the Byron Center Christian School during the summer months where Ben Bonnema hired teachers to unload boxcars and semi trailers. Supplies were brought into the Byron Center Elementary school where school orders were assembled using the gym, hallways and four classrooms. By early August "summer orders" were ready to be picked up which now consisted of several skids of supplies for each school. At that time delivery was not offered.
After several years, Bill Kool and John Borst turned the operation of the Co-op totally over to Ben Bonnema.  He continued to run the Co-op until his death in 1989.  At that time, three of the teachers who had actively helped with the summer unloading and distribution (one of those being his son, Bill) took over the operation.  They continued to operate out of the Byron Center School for several more years but soon saw the need to move into something that would give them more room and at the same time not create a hardship for the school because of supplies being in the way for summer cleaning.  Ath that time they purchased land near Moline and put up a pole barn structured wharehouse.  The three teachers, Bill Bonnema, South Christian, Stan DeJager, South Christian, and Teunis Witte, Dutton Christian continue to operate out of these facilities today.