Otter Co-op reported continuing growth in retail sales in the past year at the annual general meeting held May 28.
Despite challenges in the market, the co-op’s sales are closing in on $200 million, membership is up at 53,000, and $4.45 million is earmarked for patronage refunds to members.
Members also approved proposals by the board to expand voting opportunities for members across the province. The board is exploring options such as advance polls at the co-op’s outlets so that members do not have to travel to the AGM at D.W. Poppy Secondary school to elect board members.
The membership added one new face to the board at this year’s elections, Brian Thomasson, a retired educator and past board member of Aldergrove Credit Union. Susan Dodd and Larry Jantzen were re-elected to the board.
Co-op board president Dick Mayer told the members that while there were problems, such as cross-border shopping, construction delays and the oil price debacle, it was still a successful year.
“I believe it’s a feather in the cap of our management team that they handled these problems and still accomplished a record year of sales,” said Mayer. “This makes five years in a row of record sales.”
Year-end sales were $183,866,549 and 4,648 new members were added.
This past year Otter Co-op re-branded two service stations in Abbotsford, opened a bulk plant in Chilliwack and began construction of a service station in Penticton that is part of the co-op’s expansion plans for the Interior of B.C.
Coming up this year is a planned $2.5 million re-fit of the retail store on 248 Street, as well as a $2 million rebuild of the pellet mill at their feed operation on 248 Street.
Mayer also noted that $145,000 was provided in donations to charitable causes in the community.
“Because of this Otter Co-op was voted the Business of the Year — and also received the Community Impact Award — by the Langley Chamber of Commerce,” said Mayer.
In addition, Otter Co-op awarded 10 scholarships of $1,000 each to local students for their studies.
General manager Jack Nicholson reported that sales were up in every division, except for feed. However, profits were up at the feed division despite lower sales volumes due to decisions to exit manufacture of less profitable lines of production.
“Otter Co-op is stable and growing,” said Nicholson, noting that $4.45 million will be returned to members in cash repayments for their patronage.
“We are committed to doing what is essential, affordable and which provides a return to our members.”
Otter Co-op’s board of directors were sworn into office May 28 at their annual general meeting.
Otter Co-op’s ten scholarship winners were mature students Benjamin Macadam and Ashley Gilliland, and Grade 12 graduates Ryan Marno, Michael Miller, Chad McColm, Terrisa Inthapanya, Jennifer Gottwald, Nickolas Van Noort-Colyn, Parker Logan, Zachary Davies (some of the scholarship winners were absent due to work or other previous commitments).