© Scott Anderson
A total of 90 members attended Pioneer Co-op's 77th Annual Meeting on April 8.
Pioneer Co-op reached a new growth milestone by surpassing the $250 million sales mark according to details presented during the Co-op's 77th annual meeting in Swift Current last Tuesday.
The Board of the Pioneer Co-op presented a healthy year end financial statement to a turn out of 90 members at the meeting hosted at the Credit Union iPlex.
"It was nice to get past the $250 million," admitted General Manager Stuart Dyrland. "It takes a lot of work to sell $250 million worth of product, and a lot of planning. We've had a really good team doing that, and I really appreciate them."
Dyrland noted the gains were recorded in a variety of departments, with ag products clearly leading the way as Pioneer's sales increase $16 million from the $234 million recorded a year ago.
"Definitely very, very heavy in the ag side. A lot of crop supplies increase. Petroleum made up some of it. But in general pretty well all departments grew a little bit or they definitely stayed up with inflation."
Pioneer Co-op has recorded impressive growth in sales over the past few years, as in 2009 sales were around the $200 million mark. Petroleum sales have also jumped over the past number of years, as Pioneer wide they are now in excess of 90 million litres in sales.
Thanks to their retrained savings during this past year, Pioneer Co-op will be allocating approximately $13.1 million, with a 50 per cent cash repayment of the 2013 allocation to be made June 2 to 7 during Dividend Days. They will also make a transfer of $751,625 from retained savings into statutory reserves, and just over $4 million into their general reserve.
In his report to the membership, Dyrland showcased a long list of work being conducted across the entire Pioneer Co-op network.
They continue to receive many positive comments since their Wheatland Mall location renovations, with members enjoying a brighter location thanks to improved lighting and ceiling tiles. The Family Fashion area was also updated to boast a fresh atmosphere and a wider selection of clothing.
The Agronomy Centre remains a valuable service for members, with sales continuing to grow. A third chemical shed has been constructed and a Fertilizer Plant expansion has been completed to improve efficiency and reliability.
"We're in a good position to serve this industry. The new plant has been putting out a good amount of product this year, so everything looks pretty good in that area."
Grain bin sales continue to grow, and as of the annual meeting Pioneer Co-op had already reached 2014 bin sale total levels experienced by July of last year, and some large bins have been sold out for the year.
Dyrland also highlighted improvements made at the Sceptre Farm Centre, the addition of a chemical shed in Consul, a new card lock location in Kyle, a new tank at their Ponteix location for more reliable service, a complete reset of their Stewart Valley location, and other improvements. There was also a major investment in their Kyle and Cabri locations, plus they continue to look at additional upgrades and renovations at other older locations.
This is Pioneer Co-op's third year of operations at their Maple Creek location, with Dyrland highlighting $750,000 in renovations at Maple Creek's grocery store which needed a face lift after turning a decade old. Planning is being looked at for additional renovations in the Maple Creek and Consul area.
He also pointed to a total renovation being conducted at the Herbert location, which will include some Convenience Store items and a complete revamp of the Hardware area.
Dyrland bristled at a question during the meeting about Swift Current getting all the new buildings and renovations at the expense of new markets and older rural facilities.
"We don't spend all our money in Swift Current. If you start on the north end of the Pioneer Co-op area, we started with a new building in Stewart Valley about 10 or 12 years ago. We have a brand new facility in Kyle that was worth well in excess of $2 million. We have a brand new facility in Sceptre, totally upgraded," Dyrland. "We've got a brand new store in Cabri in excess of $3 million. We've got a brand new store in Gull Lake which was around $1 million. We've got a brand new facility over the last about 10 years in Ponteix. We're totally renovating the facility in Herbert. We just spent three quarters of a million in Maple Creek, and we're looking at spending money in Maple Creek. We just spent a brand new card lock in Frontier, to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars, that had been promised to them when they amalgamated."
"When you add all that up, it's a lot of money," he said. "Pioneer was built with branches. I'm the wrong to tell we don't put our money into the branch locations."