For most of the 20th century large stock and station firms serviced the farming industry and have all nearly disappeared, with the 1980s to 1990s proving a difficult period for agriculture.

One of those stock and station firms was the Hawke's Bay Farmers' Co-op, which had established a store in Hastings in 1899 on the corner of Queen and Market streets.

Fire (as shown) completely destroyed the building in January 1929, and stocks of benzine, oil, cartridges, gelignite and detonations didn't help efforts to put the fire out.

The planned replacement was to be designed by architect Edmund Anscombe (1874‒1948),

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