The 71st Annual General Meeting of the Bella Coola Consumers’ Cooperative Association was held on November 19 at Lobelco Hall. Thirty-five interested members, almost half of which were employees, witnessed the presentation of the previous years’ financial reports.
For the first time since 1998 the Co-op realized a net profit on operations. Unfortunately the large deficit remaining as a result of the separation from Federated Co-op Ltd. is still preventing the Co-op from distributing patronage to its members.
The Board of Directors, represented by Peter Fralick, was able to announce the continuation of a Member’s Reward Program. This year the top 302 purchasing members are being presented with gift cards ranging from $25 to $200. A total of $13,000 in gift cards are being distributed at a very challenging time of year for the member-owners.
With regret, Sandie MacLaurin withdrew from the Board of Directors. The experience and insight Sandie offered, along with her enthusiasm, will be sorely missed. Shirley Willson, Courtney Kirk, and Peter Fralick were elected to the Board. John Breffit was appointed as a Director, and as a result the Co-op has a full slate for the first time in many years.
The clarity and ease of the organizations financial reports was the result of another new accounting firm. The Co-op manager, Pete Rauch, expressed his gratitude and pleasure in dealing with the new service provider. “We expect to maintain a long and healthy relationship with Pace Accounting out Vancouver,” said Rauch. “They have Co-op experience and have already given us a great deal of assistance.”
The biggest issue facing the Board continues to be the establishment of an active-inactive member list. Much of the historical data is old and the member rolls have not been properly maintained. Once a member is determined to be inactive their equity can be moved from a deficit position to a contributed surplus status.
In the meantime, the Co-op relies upon the support of its member-owners. Local groups and businesses continue to shop in a store they own, and the benefits include the gift card distribution. To maintain these positive results is the challenge of the management and staff. New suppliers and items, like organic produce and meat, offer locals new, approved sources of the products they need and want.
As the population of the Valley changes food choices also change; quantities change, and access to those desired items change. The Co-op aims to meet those needs for another 71 years.