For the seventh year in a row the Otter Co-op has enjoyed record-breaking growth and profits.
The results were announced to members at Otter Co-op ‘s 95th annual general meeting Wednesday, May 31 at D.W. Poppy School’s gym.
Total sales at all the co-op’s divisions exceeded $206 million in 2016, and thanks to reduced expenses and repayment of debt the bottom line was also up significantly over the previous year. After taxes, the bottom line exceeded $8 million, or 3.9 per cent of sales.
This has resulted in a patronage dividend of $5,027,158 which will be paid out to the co-op’s 28,000 active members this year.
Otter Co-op CEO Jack Nicholson noted that every division of the co-op — petroleum, feed and retail — experienced an increase in sales over the past year. The overall growth of 7.8 pr cent this past year is expected to continue in 2017, with total sales predicted to be in the range of $218 million this year.
Nicholson credited “…our loyal team, including the board of directors, management, employee team and members (who) remain the key to making Otter Co-op the growing, diverse and viable business it is today.”
Three new board directors were elected by members on May 31 as well. The new directors are Carlo Bonetti, Shannon Todd Booth and Charlie Fox.
Director Maria Pucek also outlined plans for electronic voting of board directors in next year’s elections. On-line ballots will enable members to vote on directors prior to the AGM, while members will also be able to choose to vote on traditional paper ballots at the AGM if they prefer.
Pucek said the board hopes to increase membership voting numbers among its 28,000 active members this way, as it would not require members to be present at the AGM to vote. However, directors elected under this system will still be required to attend the monthly board meetings, held in the Aldergrove 248 Street Retail Centre’s board offices, in person.
The on-line voting will be conducted under a contract with a supplier pegged at about a $5,000 cost in the coming year.
Tribute was paid in a standing ovation and video for the co-op’s longest serving employee, Bev Dornan, who marked her 50th year as an employee this year.
The board of directors also awarded post-secondary scholarships to ten students and a $2,500 donation to the Canadian Cancer Society on behalf of the Otter Co-op’s “Otter Trotters” Relay for Life team.