Prairie Sky Co-op reviews success of past year

Prairie Sky Co-operative had a full review of their past year in a virtual annual meeting on Thursday evening, and reported a successful year in spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19, which did have an impact on operations.

Manager Kevin Arthur announced that the Co-op’s new Home Centre in Weyburn will be open in July of this year, and the cardlock upgrade at their Milestone facility was completed in 2020.

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The new Home Centre will be able to meet a wide variety of needs, from hardware to those planning renovations or to build a new home, he said.

The estimated total cost of the project is $8.8 million, of which $5.8 million has been set up as assets under construction. The project will be finance with an investment from FCL and a loan.

New projects for the Co-op coming up include adding diesel exhaust fluid to the Weyburn cardlock, and completing an upgrade in the Weyburn food store.

He also pointed out that Prairie Sky Co-op entered into an agreement with the Radville Co-op to provide management services, in addition to the services they provide to other co-ops, such as accounting, credit management and fuel delivery services.

Speaking about the impact of the pandemic, Arthur paid tribute to the Co-op staff, as in addition to an added workload due to drastic increases in food and pharmacy sales and deliveries, and extra cleaning and sanitation in all locations, the employees “faced the added stress of working out in public through this very uncertain time. I believe they want above and beyond to keep our customers safe and to ensure our community had access to essentials throughout the pandemic.”

It was announced at the AGM that the board approved a patronage allocation to members in the amount of $1,635,447, which is down from 2020 when the allocation was $2,712,241.

In the financial report, sales in the food division was up significantly from the year before, with total sales of $24,084,276, compared to $21,688,782 in 2020; general merchandise sales were up slightly, reaching $3,387,696, up from $3,297,610 in 2020; the petroleum division saw a significant decrease, with sales totaling $36,170,095, down from $43,310,574 in 2020; and in the branches division, sales totaled $7,563,385, a significant decrease from $15,804,754 the year before.

The grand total of sales in 2021 was $71,205,452, down from $84,101,711 in 2020. Cash payments to members will total $2,521,043, and net savings will be $2,422,484, with a percentage of 3.5 per cent, compared to 5.5 per cent in 2020, and 7.9 per cent in 2019.

For the board of directors, the incumbent directors Ken Kot, Leanne Anderson and Stella Swertz were re-elected by acclamation to three-year terms, and new board member Al York was elected by acclamation for a two-year term.

In spite of lower net earnings by the Co-op, the board approved the following patronage allocation rates: food and pharmacy, two per cent; petroleum and oil, three per cent; home centre and agro, two per cent; and liquor, two per cent.