The Eckville Co-op may be joining a larger family that will lead to expanded services for residents.
The Eckville Co-op is proposing an amalgamation with the Central Alberta Co-op, which will allow Co-op members, amongst other perks, to be able to use one Co-op number in 39 different locations across Central Alberta.
The proposed merger will be put to a member vote of both the Central Alberta Co-op and the Eckville Co-op on November 16. The merger is almost a year in the making according to General Manager of Eckville Co-op Curtis Lehouillier.
“The merger started about nine months ago,” he said. “It all began with a partnership/shared services agreement in bulk petroleum, accounting and management. At the time, Eckville needed someone to help us with our petroleum delivery because our volume didn’t warrant needing a full-time employee to deliver fuel and we weren’t large enough for an accounting firm.”
The member meeting – which will include refreshments, the meeting and vote – will take place November 16 at the Community Centre at 6:30 p.m.
“After a while it became apparent that retail was so similar that it made sense to consider how to work together. Once a feasibility study was done, a partnership like this made perfect sense,” he added.
Lahouillier believes that this will add value to Eckville Co-op members and the ability to use one Co-op number across the region is something members have been asking for. The store will continue to be in Eckville as it has since 1912 – making it Alberta’s oldest Co-op.
“Eckville Co-op has been around since 1912 and over time things change,” Lahouillier said. “The board is committed to remaining in Eckville for another 100 years. I don’t think people will notice a difference except that some services will be expanded.”
The proposed change also will provide easier avenues of growth for employees looking to move up in the Co-op system. Lahouillier stressed that the partnership with Central Alberta Co-op was made in part because of opportunities present and not financial need.
“Eckville has a strong balance sheet and this partnership is not out of financial need – it is out of opportunity,” he said. “There is always opportunity in the Co-op system to advance but being in the same company makes it far easier. The staff have said nothing but positive things.”
Eckville Co-op will continue to uphold their current high level of practise and standards said Lahouiller. If the proposed vote is passed, the amalgamation will complete on January 29, 2017.
“Co-op has always had high standards and expectations and that will not change,” he said. “I see nothing but good things for our member and the comments from our members have been very positive.”
Dear members of the Eckville Co-op,
The editorial staff of the Eckville Echo would like to shed light on a recent article ran in the Nov. 3 edition of our paper regarding a potential merger between the Eckville Co-op and the Central Alberta Co-op.
Our story states that this merger has already happened, when in fact this is not factual. A Member Meeting will be held on November 16 at 7 p.m. in Eckville at the Community Centre, in which the Co-op membership will vote on the amalgamation. A separate meeting on November 17 will be held in Red Deer at the Baymont Inn & Suites at 7 p.m.
If the amalgamation is approved, it would not take place until January 29, 2017.
We apologize for the misinformation in last week’s article and wish to apologize for the error. The article was misleading to members and staff of the Eckville Co-op and contained information that was incomplete. Again, we apologize for the error and any inconveniences that came as a result of the recent article in the Eckville Echo.
Editor – Eckville Echo
403 887 2331