The second half of 2014 may have been a tough one for the oil patch, but Southern Plains Co-operative weathered the fiscal storm just fine, posting a net saving of just under $3.26 million in 2014 based on gross sales of $77.62 million.
Robert Grimsrud, chairman of the co-op’s board of directors, and Brian Enns, CEO and general manager, who has been in that job for just under a year, noted that total sales were up modestly by about $200,000. The net savings, however, were down about $1.2 million compared with 2013 operations. That, however, was due mainly to a decrease in the Federated Co-operatives patronage refund that slipped by a similar amount to $3.48 million in the past year.
The financial picture was not one of alarm the members were told as they gathered in the Taylorton Room at Days Inn to receive the public reports from the governing and administrative bodies.
Grimsrud said over $1.4 million was handed back to members through the retail outlets’ patronage refunds in the past year and Southern Plains is poised to award the tender for a new food store, gas-bar and convenience store in Oxbow. In fact, he noted, it could happen within a few days. Another Southern Plains food and gas bar outlet in Carlyle recently underwent a facelift and the finishing touches on a major renovation and expansion at the Estevan food store, was completed in 2014.
“We are part of the community, we gave back more than $250,000 in local taxes, employ 190 people with a payroll of over $5 million,” said Enns.
In fact, since the local co-operative came into being in the Energy City in 1946, it has conducted over $1 billion in business and returned $16 million in cash patronage refunds to members.
It was a challenging year with increased competition, said Grimsrud, so the financial results based on customer/member loyalty were encouraging.
Director Jack Bramham provided details on the building and construction committee’s decisions and action plans while Wendy-May Clark outlined the work and contributions made by the Member Relations Committee, noting that contributions had been made in various community activities, to the value of over $600,000.
Three positions on the board of directors were open due to expiring terms, and they were refilled by three members who agreed beforehand to accept the nominations. Clark, Scott Kienlen and Barb Schaefer were re-installed while James Lainton was selected to fill a two-year term for a position on the board that was left open following the passing of former board member Marlene Gaudry in December 2014.