The top spenders at the Co-op were awarded with gift certificates.

Co-op enjoys financial success, celebrates 70 years in Bella Coola

Co-op enjoys financial success, celebrates 70 years in Bella Coola

About 40 member owners braved the snowy road and were on hand to discuss the Co-op’s previous year’s successes, which are quite substantial considering the tough economy and small population.

For the first time in 15 years, your local Co-op is now closer than ever to being able to pay out dividends once again. The Board of Directors credited the staff and manager Peter Rauch for achieving the most positive economic outlook to date.

“We’ve paid off the mortgage on the Co-op house and continue to pay ourselves what the mortgage was,” said Rauch. “As banks don’t really like to give co-op’s loan, this is going into a savings account as a rainy day fund. The roof needs to be done in the next ten years, a fridge or a freezer could go, and this will give us a nice cushion to fall back on.”

Rauch also stated that the Co-op is now actively looking for a Co-op experienced accountant, and that they are actively re-building their member lists. Both of these actions will help re-establish accurate equity information.

The Co-op’s bylaws state that while operating in a deficit, dividends cannot be rewarded. As it’s been 15 years since dividends, the member lists are admittedly dated. New federal legislation now requires all members to have a social insurance number on file, as dividends are considered taxable income.

Therefore, the Co-op now needs every member to re-sign up. You will receive a new laminated member card and a calendar featuring local photography. This will not affect your equity; it just provides a clear and accurate number of member-owners.

“Some have moved years ago, some are deceased. We need to get a clearer idea of who is an active member and who isn’t,” said Rauch. “As we are closer to paying out dividends, it is really important that we get this list up to date.”

This year, for the first time in a long time, the Co-op was able to recognize the top purchasers in the Valley. This included all members, organizations, and businesses. $5000 in Co-op gift certificates was awarded to these individuals, and it is hoped that this practice will bring out new members and encourage existing members to update their records. Co-op will be celebrating their 70th anniversary this year, and they intend to have some contest for spring 2014 with some big prizes.

“The most beneficial thing we can do as a community is to support all of local businesses,” said President Peter Fralick. “Money that goes to our fellow businesses will contribute to the sustainability of the entire Valley. Try to order your products at any store in the Valley before going out of town. Many of our businesses are able to order in what you need at a similar cost, especially if you consider the costs of traveling out to Williams Lake or elsewhere.”

Vice-President Sandie MacLaurin echoed this sentiment. “Co-op handles all warranties in-house, so if something ordered from Sears breaks you can bring it back,” she said. “Also, it’s nice to deal with friendly local staff, your neighbours, family, and friends.”

As always, door prizes were handed out to nine lucky members, followed by coffee and ‘homemade’ snacks made by Baker Extraordinaire Capri Jones. All member owners were encouraged to congratulate the staff and management of the Co-op while in shopping. Without their hard work and dedication, our “Little Store that Could” would not be such a success story.

There is still an opportunity to join the Board of Directors during this exciting time, as one seat is still vacant. Marshall Hans was re-elected to a three-year term, and Brigitte Falch volunteered and was elected, also for a three-year term. Your Board of Directors is: President Peter Fralick, Vice President Sandie McLaurin, Directors Marshall Hans, Moira McIlwain, Simon Schopman, and Brigitte Falch. All member owners are encouraged to ask questions of directors/management at any time of the year, not just AGM’s.