Board members, employees, management and members of the Southern Plains Co-operative Ltd. met for their annual meeting on April 25. Despite the decrease in the price of oil and the problematic economic conditions it has created, the co-op expanded its business and continues to profit and support its members and the community.
Robert Grimsrud, president of the board of directors, celebrated Southern Plains Co-op’s 70th anniversary in a speech to guests after dinner at the Estevan Days Inn.
“We acknowledge and pay tribute to all those who came before us to make this possible. We remain a major business enterprise in Southeast Saskatchewan and one that continues to be locally owned and controlled,” said Grimsrud.
In his speech, Grimsrud highlighted some of the financial results he thought were most important for the co-op, mentioning that by Jan. 31, 2016, sales for the Southern Plains Co-op totalled $64.5 million. Sales were slightly lower than the 2015 total $77.6 million.
Net savings, after the the patronage refund from Federated Co-Operatives Ltd. ($2,644,346) were received and income taxes were factored in, totalling $2,486,894. This is also lower than the previous year’s net savings which totalled $3,256,726.
The co-op paid a total of $1,261,263 back to members, in patronage refunds, over the past year.
The board discussed recent progress the business made, acknowledging milestones that included the amalgamation with Gainsborough Co-op, which took place at the end of Jan., 2016, and the opening of the new facilities in Oxbow, including the card lock, which opened in late 2015, and the food store and c-store gas bar, which opened in 2016.
“These projects have been talked about and planned for a very long time,” said Grimsrud. “The facilities are modern, and well-equipped, with all the amenities you would hope for. We are planning a grand opening celebration in Oxbow in June.”
Grimsrud acknowledged there will be challenges in the next while, but “we have existed in this area for seventy years, both through good times and bad. Things aren’t going to change overnight.”
He added, “Whatever the challenges we face, we will continue to strive to achieve excellence in providing products and services to our members, and to make decisions that are in the best interests of our organization and its members. We look forward to the next year with confidence.”
There was no election of members for this year’s board of directors, with all members still within their terms, except three, who remained on the board by acclamation. Members Robert Grimsrud, James Lainton and Darcy Calder, whose terms expired this year, were all elected by acclamation.
The board of directors for 2016-17 includes members Grimsrud, Lainton, Calder, Wendy May-Clark, Scott Kienlen, David Murray, Frances Boutin, Jack Bramham, Richard Ruetz, and associate members Barbara Schaefer and Linda Thauberger-Smith.