More than $153 million in sales highlighted a historical 2014 fiscal year for Lloydminster and District Co-op.
“A year for the record books, that’s all I can say,” Co-op CEO Don Stephenson said at the organization’s annual general meeting on Monday evening.
The year saw the Co-op complete five major projects, including the opening of a new cardlock facility in Lloydminster and Neilburg and a new gas bar in the Ironwells development on Highway 16 East in Lloydminster. It also finished renovations on the Co-op Marketplace and opened a new administration building.
“About $25 million in capital spending over the course of last year that all culminated in a pretty successful year overall for us,” said Stephenson. “We’re really proud of each of those entities and the way membership has responded out of the gate with each of those.”
A Business of the Year award from the Chamber of Commerce in October and landing on the 49th spot on Sask Business Magazine’s Top 100 Saskatchewan companies capped the banner year. The Co-op also celebrated its centennial anniversary.
Stephenson referred to 2014 as extremely challenging, but equally “rewarding.” The Co-op isn’t ready to slam on the brakes just yet following one of its busiest years in recent memory, as two more big projects are in the works.
“We’ve got another gas bar that’s being located on the west side of town and then another bulk and cardlock facility that we located west of town, as well, on Highway 16,” said Stephenson, who added that both ventures should “come to fruition” within six months.
This year may be more challenging, however. The downturn in the economy has forced the company to alter some of its financial strategies and Stephenson says he’ll have to manage expenses more diligently, thereby potentially sacrificing the company’s short-term growth.
He has vowed to keep spending modest by better controlling inventory instead of cutting staff from its retail entities. Stephenson says he believes the Co-op is well-equipped to handle these uncertain times.
“I do like our diversity, I like our strengths and I’m quite confident that we’ll weather this storm going forward,” he said.
The Co-op has also announced the resignation of board member Heidi Hougham, following her three-year term. It didn’t take long to find a replacement, as Sherri Stephens has been added to the board on a three-year term.
The Co-op is locally owned and operated and has retail offerings in grocery and pharmacy, agriculture supplies, petroleum and propane.