The Kindersley and District Co-op recognized board member Donna McBride for serving on the board for 27 consecutive years. Presenting her with a watch to commemorate the occasion is board president Tom Watt.

Kenneth Brown
of The Clarion

The Kindersley and District Co-operative Ltd. has held its annual general meeting (AGM) for 2017 and people on hand heard of an exceptional year at the Co-op.

The Co-op held its AGM on April 25 at the Kindersley Seniors Centre. The meeting featured the usual business of an AGM including reports, director elections, any business of the Co-op organization and general discussion. The Co-op also draws for door prizes at the AGM.

Tom Watt, president of the Co-op’s board, presented a Board of Directors report to members and staff on hand at the meeting. He said the Co-op had another successful year in 2017 with sales up roughly 25 per cent from 2016.

The Co-op finished 2017 with more than $73.2 million in total sales from all branches and departments. The Co-op finished 2016 at nearly $57.4 million in total sales. Watt told members the increase could be attributed to a general improvement in economic conditions within the organization’s trading area.

The total of $73.2 million in sales is the second highest total in the Co-op’s 104-year history.

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The record was achieved in 2015 when the Co-op had more than $74.6 million in sales, so 2017 was a close second. The third highest annual total was $64.7 million in sales in 2014.

Watt said the increase in sales was shared between all branches and departments, but the largest increase was seen in the petroleum department. The increase in drilling activity drove the growth, along with the loss of two larger competitors.

The Co-op’s earnings also finished in a stronger position than the previous year as a result of the sales growth, he said. The savings, or profits, in 2017 are more than $4.27 million compared to about $2.79 million in 2016.

“On behalf of the board and management, I want to congratulate everyone, our member owners and team members, for these strong financial results,” he said during his report. “Thank you all for contributing to another successful year for our co-operative.”

The Co-op invested nearly $1.48 million in facilities and equipment in 2017. The bulk of the capital investment went towards the construction of a new cardlock facility in Kerrobert. A total of $3.4 million has been budgeted for additional facility and equipment improvements in 2018.

The investments include a major renovation project at the Kindersley food store and the work is already underway, according to Watt. Other capital upgrades planned for 2018 include the construction of a new cardlock facility at the bulk fuel tanks north of Brock, exterior upgrade to the store in Hoosier, interior upgrades to the Eatonia grocery and farm supply, and a new one-ton delivery unit for the Kindersley home centre.

A total of $2.6 million in retained savings has been allocated to member share accounts in 2018, and the number represents 60 per cent of retained savings. More than $1.93 million was returned to members in 2017 through repayments and withholding tax submissions.

The Co-op gave back to the community by providing $130,000 to groups and organizations within the trading area in 2017. The support included $50,000 for the Kindersley Aquatics Centre project as part of a five-year commitment of $250,000.

Longtime director Denise McBride received a special service award for 25 years of service to the board. The Co-op has a seven-member board and three directors have been re-elected to serve three-year terms. Watt, Laurie Kelly and Ken Massey, who returned to the board in May 2017, were re-elected.

The board’s president said in an interview that 2017 was a good year for the Kindersley & District Co-op. The allocation rates were announced at the AGM, and Watt said the rates would remain unchanged from the 2016 rates.

The allocation rates for 2017 are five per cent for pharmacy and grocery, three per cent for lumber, hardware and farm equipment, four per cent for propane and oil, three per cent for clear diesel, and 6.5 per cent for regular gasoline and dyed diesel.

Watt said the Co-op’s group purchasing power helps to achieve savings through the Federated Co-operative. The refinery in Regina has been a huge help to Co-ops and the facility has not experienced any setbacks in the past couple of years. The renovation project at the Kindersley food store is well underway and the contractor is doing major at night to allow the store to stay open during the day, Watt said.

He noted that Co-op team members tend to make up the majority of the crowds at annual meetings, but there were more members in attendance this year and it was nice to see. Watt said he hopes the members continue their support as the organization positions itself for the future.

“I would just like to ask the members for their continued support and continued understanding while we’re in our projects,” he added, recognizing that members will notice the upgrades and the staff deserves credit for its hard work during the projects.