The Embarrass Cooperative Association was formed in 1909 by a small group of residents in response to economic insecurity and low prices for their produce. It sold food, supplies, clothing, hardware, and even forest and farm products on behalf of its members to markets in larger towns. During the Depression years, the co-op was credited with saving many Finnish farming families from starvation and bankruptcy by supplying and accepting food for sale when others had stopped.
The local co-op store was more than a retail business. The cooperative movement represented a way of life. This was especially true in rural areas where co-op halls were the site of socials, concerts, plays, lectures and dances. The Embarrass Cooperative continued to serve the community until December 1963 when it was destroyed by fire.