Generosity the Key to Peninsula Co-op’s Success

Peninsula Co-op is a proud supporter of the Tour de Rock.  - Supplied photo
Peninsula Co-op is a proud supporter of the Tour de Rock.
— image credit: Supplied photo

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When nearly $40,000 was recently misappropriated from the parent advisory committee playground fund at Keating Elementary School, the community was shocked and saddened. The children were without a playground, and now their years of funds raised to pay for a new one were gone.

Luckily, this story took a remarkable twist.

Peninsula Co-op, a member-owned co-operative with its roots on the Saanich Peninsula, stepped up with a $30,000 donation. In conjunction with other business partners in the community, they saved the day.

Dr. Keven Elder, superintendent of the Saanich School Division recounted how thrilled he was when he received the call from Peninsula Co-op.

“Their generosity was entirely unconditional,” said Elder. “They just called and said they were prepared to donate $30,000. There were no requests for acknowledgment or any conditions. They just wanted to do the right thing.”

Elder went on to say the close ties between Peninsula Co-op and the community means that, even without any fanfare, people are very aware of the good work the Co-op does, recognizing it as being more than just another company doing business in their neighbourhood.

Penny Sopel, Peninsula Co-op’s community relations manager, explained that the donation to Keating Elementary was only one of a host of community projects they’ve funded. The Co-op has been giving back to the communities where they do business since 1977 and annually donates almost a half million dollars to local projects.

“We give to charities, non-profit organizations, scholarships, and even capital projects designed to make the community a better place to live, work and study,” said Sopel, citing a recent donation of $100,000 to Camosun College for their new Trades & Technology Building.

Peninsula Co-op’s philosophy is rooted in their slogan of “moving ahead, by giving back” and, according to Sopel, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a $50 donation to a local charity or a six-figure cheque to aid a community project, the response is always heart-warming and much appreciated.  In the past year alone, over 220 community groups received some of that support.

Peninsula Co-op’s generosity is rooted in the fact that the company is 100 per cent locally owned and is accountable to its 85,000 member-owners; residents who have joined the Co-op in an effort to support their community with every purchase.

But the company’s support of community projects and charities is only part of its secret to success. Instead of the ever-present card and loyalty programs utilized by many businesses, Peninsula Co-op provides its member-owners with rebates on their purchases. In December every member-owner annually receives a cheque in the mail – one that they can take straight to the bank and spend on whatever they want. Last year, member-owners shared $4.6 million in rebates.

It’s a concept with a growing popularity.

In April of 2016, Peninsula Co-op amalgamated with Comox Valley Co-op and now provides services and support throughout the Comox Valley, Courtney and surrounding areas in addition to its existing gas stations and convenience stores throughout the Saanich Peninsula, Greater Victoria, Mill Bay and Duncan.

“Our values are people first, respect, integrity, accountability and excellence,” said Sopel. “Without our member-owners we wouldn’t be able to help shape a bright, prosperous future for the communities in which they live. It’s something for all of us to be proud of.”

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Peninsula CO-OP Photo2 by CVRecord on Scribd

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