Co-op posts highest sales ever

  • Jan. 30, 2006 8:00 p.m.

By Alex Rinfret–The Delmas Co-op enjoyed record-breaking sales, increased its membership and was open more hours during the past year, members heard at the association’s 60th annual general meeting, held Sunday in Masset (Jan. 29).
President Glenn Fahlman told the 80 or so islanders attending the meeting that sales reached $11.6-million for the year ended Sept. 30, 2005, up from the previous year’s $11.3-million and the highest sales ever recorded by the Co-op. Net savings (the amount left after subtracting all expenses) were $626,000, a healthy increase over the previous year’s $441,000.
Mr. Fahlman also said that 182 new members had joined the association, and 45 had left, bringing membership to 2,545.
The biggest issue facing the co-op is the new food store it hopes to build in Masset this year. The food store has been in the planning stages for many years, and construction has been delayed because of the cost. The co-op now has $1.9-million saved up to put towards the store, Mr. Fahlman said, and hopes to tender the project soon. The board will be holding a special meeting of members once the tenders are returned, to go over the final cost, the amount to be borrowed, and the timeline. This should happen within the next couple of months.
Members voted in favour of the proposal from the finance committee to allocate 4-percent of purchases to members, or about $428,000.
The co-op board usually faces a barrage of questions and complaints from members at the annual general meeting, but this year was an exception, with only one complaint coming from the floor. Jim Holland said the system of ordering and paying for building supplies at the hardware department, then going and picking them up at the building supply department, is inconvenient. Sometimes items paid for turn out not to be available, and just last week, he said, he had been forgotten while he waited outside the building supply area.
General manager Richard Clarmont said he realized the system wasn’t great, but the co-op can’t afford to staff the building supply department.
“What I’m looking at is member service, not Co-op savings,” Mr. Holland replied. The Co-op is probably losing sales because customers would rather shop somewhere else, if possible, to avoid the awkward system.
Mr. Clarmont said the board would take a good look at the situation and see if anything could be improved, while keeping costs in line.
Then it was on to elections, with Casey Jarvis, Alannah Lee, Kathy Costain and Alf Belyea elected to fill four spots on the board. Ms Jarvis and Ms Lee were appointed by the board several months ago to complete the terms of Bill Bailey and Kathy Repp, who had resigned. The other members of the board are Glen Fahlman, Bret Johnston, Lynda Osborne, Margaret Spencer and Fran Redick.
Co-op staff then handed out numerous door prizes, including a trip for two to Vancouver, won by Dot Lewis of Masset.