Pioneer Co-op has reasons to smile

Jenna Wanner
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Sales growth of $28.7 million and other positives were reasons for Pioneer Co-op members to smile during 2007.

Sales growth of $28.7 million and other positives were reasons for Pioneer Co-op members to smile during 2007.

Pioneer Co-op President Beth Henderson explained during the Co-op's annual meeting last Tuesday that there were many positives during 2007.

"I'm really proud of what we did in the Pioneer Co-op. We have just had a great year and we are able to give a good patronage allocation and half of that, 50 per cent of it will be paid back directly to the membership this year. So we are very proud of that."

The Pioneer Co-op has also introduced a new way to help their members out a little bit more. New gift cards have been a new hot item since Christmas time to help shoppers find the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

"They are brand new to us. We started using them just before Christmas. They can be used at any Co-op in the FCL system, not just at our Co-op. There is no expiry date on them. They are for whatever amount you want to have put on the card and the card can be re-used."

Co-op wants to help all of their customers as much as they can, making shopping easier and less stressful. The new Co-op gift card is also a multi-use card says Henderson.

"It can be used in any department in the system. So you can come and get groceries one day and use your card, and then the next day or the very same day go to the lumber department and use your card again. It works for everything."

Sales for the year 2007 were $166.9 million, up from 2006 sales of $138.2 million.

The patronage refund to the members was $8,372,502.

Becoming a member of Pioneer Co-op is very easy and very inexpensive.

"It's the best $5 investment you may ever make. This buys you a membership in the Pioneer Co-op, and you immediately begin sharing in the Co-op's success."

"With each purchase at one of the locations, you build equity. At the end of the year, when our financial statement shows a profit, you share in that profit in proportion to your purchases," said Henderson.

Even though Co-op has roughly 385 employees, they are still always looking for new positions to fill.

Donna Bourgoin, FCL director says that Human Resources are currently working on helping to find a way to hire and keep Co-op employees.

"Human Resources is working right now on a strategic management plan. We want to find out how to hire and keep our employees not only happy but enjoying coming to work."

"We hope to have something out and in place by June," said Bourgoin.

Pioneer Co-op in Swift Current is not the only place that is experiencing labour shortages. Bourgoin added it is a problem all across Western Canada.

"This is all across Western Canada. Everyone is facing a shortage of jobs and employees."

Stu Dyrland, General Manager for Pioneer Co-op, was happy to report that the new building in Gull Lake is now up and running.

"Construction went really well. We started with the idea of being open in October/November. The construction is beautiful. We have a brand new store, lots of square footage, lots of hardware and lumber a nice convenience store, and good staff in Gull Lake. I think they are ready to roll for a long time to come."

With Gull Lake being a small town, the old station had to be closed to accommodate the construction of the new one.

"We had to close down the service station but that is kind of normal in smaller towns getting everything up and ready. Now we have gas pumps, crop supplies, pretty much all of the services. The Gull Lake community is now in good hands."

The Pioneer Co-op board consists of: Donna Bourgoin, Michael Montgomery, Bill Rudolph, Beth Henderson, Uli Cartman, Dick Yee, Gaylyn Turner, Neil Wallace and Terry Reidle.

Organizations: Pioneer Co-op, Human Resources, Co-op in Swift Current Co-op board

Geographic location: Gull Lake, Western Canada

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