Cooper Communities History

Most of us have a vision for accomplishment. A few of us pursue and realize their vision.

Only the very brightest have realized their vision on such a grand scale as John A. Cooper.

Years before a "planned community" became common terminology, Mr. Cooper had an idea that would give birth to an industry: "I want people to live better in retirement than they did while working." He made that concept a reality with his first planned community established in 1954. Mr. Cooper identified a new market segment in the post World War II era: a generation of Americans who realized for the first time in our history the wealth, health and life expectancy to exit the work force and retire in comfort.

"These were the first people who had a secure retirement income, the first generation to get their Social Security. Here was a whole generation of people who had farmed, worked in industry, just spent their entire lives working. They got ready to retire and they had their Social Security to live on. It was a natural market." Mr. Cooper stated in a 1983 article in the Arkansas Times.

John A. Cooper's vision was realized through consumer consideration, careful planning and a commitment to excellence. He provided an attractive product by buying inexpensive land in locations with low cost of living and building developments on a grand scale. An unprecedented plan at the time, Cooper secured over 75,000 acres in Arkansas alone! The economics of the plan were brilliant: spread the development costs of the plan over a large number of owners / members to make it cost attractive to them and yet provide amenities that would include golf courses, country clubs and lakeside living. The low cost opportunity for the good life attracted large groups of people who previously could not afford such a lifestyle.

Now headquartered out of Rogers, Arkansas, Mr. Cooper's achievements were lauded for their importance as exampled by this 1981 article from the Arkansas Gazette: "Cooper must be recognized for the social, economic and political impact of the retirement communities he founded. By luring a large and totally different group of residents, John Cooper, more than any one person, has altered the character of Arkansas."

But the State of Arkansas was only the beginning. John A. Cooper's concepts for master-planned communities quickly became the blueprints for similar developments across the country.

Now, over fifty years later, John A. Cooper's vision has become Cooper Communities, Incorporated. An industry leader in a variety of real estate services, the company has several divisions under the company umbrella.

Cooper Home Building Division has flourished through attention to detail and a focus on quality construction. The results? Over 10,000 houses have been built and now are homes to thousands of proud homeowners.

Cooper Commercial Properties Division has prospered; owning and managing over 3.6 million square feet of property.

Our Land Development Division has provided home sites to over 100,000 valued customers.

Cooper Communities, Incorporated also owns Escapes!, our vacation ownership subsidiary. Escapes! is in the process of developing eight exciting resorts in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Alabama and Florida. Aggressive growth plans have many more on the drawing board for opening in the near future.

It takes a lot of talented people to plan, manage and execute the continuing vision of such a dynamic company. Cooper Communities is proud of every one of our 805 employees located throughout seven states. They bring opportunities for a better life to you. Over fifty years of providing resorts and planned communities for our owners and guests builds a deep sense of pride and commitment. There's a feeling of obligation to carry on the level of excellence and commitment to a quality product that has brought us this far.

John A. Cooper's vision of "living better" has been embraced by generations of loyal owners. Today, Escapes! presents our founder's vision to you through an array of choices with the very best values for vacation ownership.

If John A. Cooper wasn't the sole founder of real estate development, then he certainly is considered the founder of the modern-day retirement community. John A. Cooper's accomplishments earned him an honorary doctorate of letters degree from Arkansas State University in 1982. He had a chair of diplomacy named for him at the University of Arkansas Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in 1986 with the late Little Rock Financier, Witt Stephens, endowing the chair. In 2004, Mr. Cooper was inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, joining such notable contemporaries as Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton, William Dillard of Dillards department stores, Don Tyson of Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt, founder of J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. Mr. Cooper gave back his honor as well, with, among other contributions, countless efforts towards the betterment of the Boy Scouts of America organization.

Mr. Cooper served as President and Chairman of the Board of Cooper Communities until 1968 when he passed the reins onto his son, John A. Cooper, Jr. He remained active in the company until suffering a stroke in 1989. He lived with deteriorating health past the death of his wife, Mildred B. Cooper and died on January 24, 1998.

Today, a number of Cooper family members serve faithfully in the company, led by John A. Cooper, Jr., Chairman of the Board and John A. Cooper, III, President.

Three generations of the Cooper family have nurtured the company down along its 50-year path to excellence. And with them, a second and third generation of owners are enjoying the vision of a remarkable entrepreneur: John A. Cooper.

Company Overview

Cooper Communities History

Fifty Years Of Sharing The Dream
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