With the grocery store closing, managers acknowledge that it has been a tough year for the Co-op.
The Co-op’s 55th annual general meeting brought many problems of sustainability into question.
Over 40 people attended to listen to the Co-op’s annual general meeting reports for the year as well as any business that needed to be conducted like finances and nominations for new board directors.
Despite the economic downturn, the Co-op’s agriculture and gas sectors remained strong. Their sales for the 2016 year were more or less in line with the previous year and they were able to save $14,000 more than the year before. They recorded more than $31 million in sales in the non foods division. On the grocery side, up to January 31, 2017, sales were just over $7 million, on par with the previous year. In 2017, the grocery operation recorded a loss of $440,745.
The board had taken the brunt of many questions from grumbling and angry members, especially over the recent closure of the grocery store. One member asked why the store was shut down without any real notice. The board retorted saying they had mentioned its struggles for more than 10 years at every meeting and warned members that ‘if something didn’t turn around, something would have to be done.’
On a lighter note, the Drumheller Co-op has zero’d in on its core corporate values of people, community, integrity, and excellence. “These values are what we look for when recruiting new employees and expect from everyone every day,” said Brent Walker, Drumheller Co-op general manager.
Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) District 5 Director Joe Bowhay gave a speech on the role FCL plays into each Co-op, explaining that it is a ‘Co-op for Co-op’s!’
FCL is a Corporate Retailing System (CRS) divided into 15 districts across Western Canada, which is also owned by almost 200 independent co-op’s including the Drumheller location.
Three new additions to the Board of Directors were announced after the votes were cast. Each nominated individual gave a brief speech as to why they should run and how they can help benefit members.
Qualifications to run included being a member for at least one year, have a minimum of $2,500 in Co-op purchases and their accounts must be in good standing. The newly elected directors were Dalton Madsen, Diane Snyder, and Barry Fullerton.
The Co-op gas bar expansion is expected to begin in the next few years to compete with the increasingly tough market. They plan to build a larger convenience store as well as more gas bars to accommodate the large amounts of people that flood the store in the busy summer season.
“This will allow us to grow the business and be sustainable well into the future,” said Walker.
Within the past year, the Drumheller Co-op has donated over $60,000 to clubs and groups in the area. In June and July, the board made the decision to make cheque donations directly to 4-H clubs in the area rather than attend the Show and Sales and only benefit one to two members.
“This seems to be appreciated and a good way of supporting these local clubs,” said Eric Poettcker, President of the board.