The new board of directors for Otter Co-op were sworn into office on May 25. The directors are (from left) Angie McDougall

Otter Co-op sees continuing strong growth

Sales, memberships in co-operative enjoyed large increases in 2015

Otter Co-op enjoyed another record-breaking year, with all of its divisions marking increases to sales.

The member-owned co-operative has experienced growth in every year, and more than doubled its sales over the past ten years to a total of $199,599,406 this past year. The total surpassed last year’s total by 8.5 per cent or $15.7 million.

The results were announced at the annual general meeting held May 25 at D.W. Poppy Secondary school’s gym.

Otter Co-op also added 4,593 new members in the past year, who will share the $4 million in patronage refunds that will be paid out to its members.

The co-op’s retail division saw healthy increases in its food, pharmacy and general merchandise sales, however, the feed, bulk petroleum and gar bar divisions remain the biggest revenue generators for the co-op.

Feed sales from the plants in Aldergrove and Armstrong had a “fantastic” year with sales of over $42 million, up $3.38 million from the year before. And despite the fall in petroleum prices, bulk petroleum product sales were up at $44.5 million, and gas bar sales were up also at $82.5 million.

Otter Co-op added a new gas bar in Penticton, and work continues on new sites on the Abbotsford-Mission Hwy. and West Kelowna and reconstruction of the 248 Street site.

A new pellet mill will soon be operational at the Aldergrove feed mill.

The co-op is also investing in upgrades to its 248 Street retail centre, including a generator for power during hydro interruptions and a new liquor sales department. Board president Larry Jantzen said the generator would reduce food spoilage and also make the co-op a safe haven for residents during hydro outages.

General manager Jack Nicholson noted that the co-op has assets of more than $78 million and has made cash repayments to members of more than $20 million over the past five years. This year’s approved allocation of 2.9 per cent means members will receive a total of $4,059,372 in equity and cash repayments.

In addition, Otter Co-op has donated almost $250,000 to charitable and community organizations, as well as scholarships, in the past year.

Four directors were elected to the board by the members that night. Newly elected directors for three year terms are Darwin Osarchuk, Angie McDougall and Maria Pucek, and Janice McWilliams was elected to a one year term.

They join the current board members: Larry Jantzen, Dick Mayer, Susan Dodd, Brian Thomasson and Martin Power.

Otter Co-op awarded eight scholarships for post-graduate studies at their AGM on May 25. The recipients are (from left) Bethany Verwoerd, Dustin Flokstra, Adam van der Goes, Sukhman Sidhu, Rachel Hope, Jonathan Macadam (and not present for photo were Elizabeth Houweling and Chloe Hetherington. -Kurt Langmann photo