It was another great year in 2011 for the Vanderhoof and Districts Co-operative Association and they are, literally, building on that for the future.
The Co-op held its AGM on April 23 in Vanderhoof, and more than 220 people showed up to enjoy a great meal and get the latest news on the group.
“Some of our managers were at meetings recently with other co-ops,” operations manager Allan Bieganski said, “and they were saying they were lucky to get 50 people out for their meetings. We usually have more than 200.”
What those members heard was pretty much all good news. General manager Clifford Irving reported sales were up substantially in 2011, by $54.3 million.
“Petroleum litres were up by 24.6 million, or 19 per cent. The food floor increased by $665,500, or 7.5 per cent, while home centre sales were down $133,000, or 2.3 per cent.
“As well, Quesnel litre sales continue to increase, and after just the second full year of operation, we are at 16 million litres.”
Irving said they expect the strong showing to continue in 2012.
“We are projecting a sales increase of $24.7 million, or 12.9 per cent. The Central B.C. economy continues to be very strong. Lumber exports have improved through Asian markets, mining and drilling activities have increased at New Gold, and construction at Mt. Milligan and expansion at Endako Mines have resulted in an increased demand for fuel and consumer goods.”
To help the Co-op continue to meet that demand, Bieganski says, they are continuing work on a number of projects around the north.
“The construction of the store and agro-centre in Quesnel are pretty much complete. The next big project is starting to revamp the operation in Vanderhoof.”
He said that will be done in a number of stages, including preparation work on the location for the new agricultural and hardware building centre, and we’ll begin working on a new storage building for our lumber and feed.”
The current lumber and feed storage sheds will be removed and replaced with a building with an auto-stacking system for easy loading of lumber and agricultural supplies.
“We’re excited about the new construction in Vanderhoof, but there’s a lot of steps to go through to finish it.”
The cardlock facility in Vanderhood is also undergoing a major renovation, and a cardlock in the Hart Highway area of Prince George is close to starting.
“We hope to have that one completed this year.”
Bieganski said the overall numbers from 2011 were “phenomenal.”
“Our own bottom-line margin was good, and we also got a good patronage refund of our own from Federated Co-operative Limited.”
Among other numbers reported at the AGM, it was noted recycling continues to be a focus for the stores, with more than 79 tons of cardboard shipped into Prince George for recycling. As well, more than 10,000 litres of used oil was recycled last year.
Cliff Irving was honoured during the 67th Annual Vanderhoof and Districts Co-op AGM.
Cliff began his Co-op career in 1967 when he was 15 years old and quickly moved up the ranks. At age 21 he was appointed manager of the Prince Rupert Co-op.
Throughout his career with the Vanderhoof Co-op Irving has been quick to recognise and act on opportunities. His latest project involves the replacement of the current Lumber/Agro buildings with a new Agricultural and Hardware Building Centre.
The Vanderhoof Co-op has many long-standing employees, including: Lora Hunsaker with 25 years of service, Len Wall, Suzy Provencher and Allan Bieganski with 20 years of service, and Mark Hurring with 15 years.
Long-time board members include: Ken Loper, 33 years, Bud Pye, 18 years, Kim McIvor and Henry Dyck with 12 years each.