Winkler Co-op to give record payout

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Winkler Co-op members will receive the largest cash payout in history, announced by Garry Froese who presented the 2018 Directors Report at the 77th annual general meeting last week.
“With the success of FCL this year with nearly one billion in profits is a great sign that the brand of Co-op is still growing and able to compete in a very competitive box store environment in Western Canada,” Froese said. “This success along with our local strong financial 2018 year of $300,000 plus paying down $2.1 million in long term debt adds to our ability to grow with a strong balance sheet.”
Funds given back to Winkler Co-op from Federated total $7.4 million.
Allocations from that to members will total 9 per cent on oil, 6.5 per cent on gas, 4.5 per cent on Food and Fashion, 3 per cent on appliances and 2 per cent on fertilizer and chemical.
Froese also highlighted the fact that 2018 saw the coming together of Winkler and Lowe Farm Co-op. “The Winkler Co-op and Lowe Farm Co-op unification adds many new efficiencies to our farm retail, fuel and chem/fertilizer divisions,” he said. “It also adds the hardware and automobile repairs component to the already extensive products to our members.
Winkler Co-op also approved a new health and safety position and a full time Human Resources person, allowing them to update and create a policy handbook. Froese also thanked management, staff and members.
“We appreciate the fact that you are shopping in our stores,” he said. “You are helping us grow. You are helping us expand the services we can offer you. Together we are making our communities a better place to live in.”
General Manager Evan Toews shared their success in the last year with members.
He said sales are up $11.6 million from 2017, to over $110 million.
He also highlighted the value of the Co-op including:
• Winkler Co-op currently employs 262 employees
• In 2018 Winkler Co-op paid $8.1 million in wages to employees.
• In 2018 they paid $417,000 in property taxes.
• They were able to give $300,000 in local donations and sponsorships.
• In 2018 they allocated over $4.7 million to members.
• They sold over $1.1 million in local product, purchased from local individuals and businesses.
“This totals over $14.5 million being returned to our local economy,” Toews said. “In addition to this we use local trades to construct and maintain our facilities and many small donations that are not accounted for.”
Highlights of last year also include the addition of sushi and more deli options at the Winkler food store. However, Toews said they’ve seen growth both in Morden and Winkler.
New growth will occur in Bulk Lubricants. Winkler Co-op has purchased a bulk lubricant truck and will partner with six neighbouring Co-op retails.
“We will be delivering lubricants for commercial and farm use to our own members as well as those of these partnering retails,” he said. “While we continue to look for opportunities to grow our own petroleum business, we look forward to adding the cardlock and bulk petroleum departments in Lowe Farm.