AGM celebrates Co-op's growth
Members and staff of the St. Paul District Co-op Association celebrated a year of progress and prosperity at the annual general meeting on April 23, at the St. Paul Co-op Mall.
Controller Brad Belton gave a brief overview of the 2013 financial statement, showing an overall increase in profits from 2012.
“In last year’s report we alluded to making $100 million this year. We just missed it, but we were very close. Sales were up in all of our divisions,” said Belton.
“We were up approximately five million litres in petroleum over the previous year, so that was a big boost. As well, the first full year of operation of the liquor store helped as well.”
Belton said that expenses, which went up from $10.4 million last year to $11.8 million, took into account the completion of work the roof of the Co-op Mall. Another increase in expenses was due to the completion of the Elk Point cardlock project.
Transfers to the general reserve went up from $1.7 million to $2.9 million, and patronage allocation to members decreased slightly to $4.4 million from 2012’s $4.8 million. Transfers to the general reserve went up while patronage allocations went down so that more money could be saved for upcoming projects the co-op has planned.
Board of Directors President Cliff Martin spoke about the progress the Co-op has made over the last year, saying, “2013 has proven to be the most successful year in the history of our organization with sales exceeding $99 million. . . and local savings of nearly $2 million. We will be allocating $4.4 million dollars to our members.”
Martin described a significant increase in membership, saying, “The confidence in our Co-op continues to grow. At the present time, the expansion and complete renovation of the Elk Point store continues with a completion date for some time in August.”
Martin described the liquor store in St. Paul as surpassing expectations, with sales over $3.5 million in the first year of operations. He said the Co-op is working to integrate and serve the community further by joining with the County of St. Paul FCSS department, and purchasing a mobile community trailer. The trailer will house cooking and recreation utilities, and can be used by organizations for fundraising and disaster relief.
General Manager Graham Getz described 2013 as “a year of firsts,” saying it was the first year in history the district Co-op surpassed $99 million in sales.
Other firsts include the first time the meat department in St. Paul achieved $3 million in sales, the first time building materials had annual sales of $6 million, the first time a grain bin was sold in St. Paul capable of carrying 42,000 bushels, and the first time more than 15 million liters of petroleum was sold.
“We have started to transition and adapt to ensure your Co-op stays relevant and continues to be a leader, for our members and how we help build communities,” said Getz.
He said the St. Paul and District Co-op supported STARS Air Ambulance, invested in local 4-H Clubs, launched a social media campaign, and provided disaster aid for the 2013 floods in the Calgary area, and the affected areas in the Philippines, after Typhoon Haiyan, all in 2013.
After the speeches, members participated in a general question period discussing a number of aspects of the business.
One member asked, “Has the board thought about building a car wash similar to what is on the other end of town? Who owns the property across the road?”
Martin responded saying, “That property is owned by the other mall. The idea has been tossed around but there’s a limitation on how much space is available. It could come into future plans.”
Another member asked about the origin of certain food products sold at the Co-op saying, “I’ve been looking at labels recently, and your video said you shop locally, and you provide locally. I’d like to know why some of our food is coming from China, mainly garlic.”
Getz responded saying, “We get as much as we can source locally, with the buyers and the demand, for the amount of garlic that we need. That can be revisited in the future, with a new campaign we’re working on to support local as much as we can. It’s a supply and demand thing.”
Another member asked about the parking lot outside, asking if the co-op could repaint the lines. Getz said the paint is available, and the only obstacle to painting lines and repairing the potholes in the parking lot is the weather.
The 2014 board of directors at the St. Paul & District Co-op includes Martin, Vice President Terry Holmgren, Secretary Bernice Capjack, and directors Lorne Siemers, Gerard Tremblay, Don Zarowny, John Trefanenko, Dwayne Vogel, and Carol Maas.