To build or not to build?-new store decision looms for Co-op

  • Jan. 26, 2004 4:00 p.m.

Members of Delmas Co-op have a big decision ahead: whether to build a new store in Masset, renovate the existing store, or wait and make a decision next year.
General manager Richard Clarmont said he expects to call a special meeting of all co-op members within the next six months to vote on which option they prefer.
First though, the co-op board is waiting for revised plans to come back from the Federated Co-op Ltd. head office. The board will then present information and a recommendation to the members at a special meeting, Mr. Clarmont explained.
At Sunday’s annual general meeting, president Glenn Fahlman told members the co-op has $1.7-million saved up for the new building or renovation. The money is invested in a savings account with Federated and will continue to grow while the local co-op considers its decision.
Meanwhile, sales were down slightly for the year ended Sept. 30, 2003, but Mr. Fahlman said the the co-op board is confident that sales will be higher this year.
Mr. Clarmont said the lower sales were caused by poor economic conditions on the islands, mainly instability in the logging industry. The Co-op also lowered prices after receiving complaints at last year’s annual general meeting, he said.
Sales were down at both the Masset store and the Skidegate store, but while the Masset store ended the year with savings of $243,000, the Gwaii branch barely broke even.
In fact, former board member Irene Oliver pointed out, the Gwaii branch would have lost money if the board hadn’t negotiated a lower lease for the store. The new rate applied for the last three months of the 2003 financial year, she said.
“If it had been the old lease, we would have a red bottom line,” she said. “I am expressing a concern here now, because we got in a lot of hot water a few years ago. I want the board to keep a close watch on that.”
Approximately 60 people attended the annual general meeting. Members had few complaints, unlike last year, although several questions were asked about the $31,000 spent on renovations to the general manager’s house on Brant Crescent. The renovations included new drywall, carpet and interior painting, and were necessary after mold was discovered growing on the walls, Mr. Clarmont said.
The co-op did receive several accolades. Mary Wilson thanked the board for supporting local youth groups like the swim club, soccer club and grade seven grad. (The co-op donated just over $8,600 to community groups.) Shirley Kricheldorf thanked the board and staff for their hard work over the past year. She also praised the co-op concept, noting that every dollar spent at the local stores benefits both the spender (a percentage of savings is returned to members every year) and the community, as the co-op provides good-paying union jobs with benefits.
Elections resulted in two new faces on the co-op board of directors: Fran Redick and Lynda Osborne. Three directors – Bret Johnston, Margaret Spencer and Bill Bailey – were re-elected. The other board members are Glenn Fahlman, Kathy Repp, Rollie Wheeler and Brian O’Hara.

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