Another year is in the books for Sun Valley Co-op.
As reported at its recent annual general meeting, sales in 2022/23 hit $69.1 million. With allocations of 5.5% on petroleum, 10% on oil, 3% on food and 2.5% on general merchandise, $2.67 million was distributed back to members.
Additionally, the year was marked with several enhancements to the business's facilities and services.
It started off with the full opening of the new food store in Altona.
"We are happy to announce that food store project has been a success and things continue to grow and be positive for that location," said General Manager, Brad Iverson.
Upgrades were also completed at the Altona Gas Bar, increasing the hot food offerings and providing barista service for higher-end coffee beverages, and have been met with a positive response, noted Iverson. Changes are also underway to expand hot food offerings at the Morris Gas Bar Cafe, including the popular Homestyle Fried Chicken currently available at the Altona Food Store. Iverson added, they aren't finished yet, with more equipment set to arrive shortly to expand hot food offerings even further.
"It's fair to say that we need to continue to evolve and upgrade our locations to be relevant," he explained. "There's no doubt that people are looking for that quick option in their day-to-day lives as things get busy, and we were finding that traditional items weren't succeeding like they used to. We are going to have to continue to evolve to maintain that relevancy."
Staying relevant also meant making some technological improvements, like a new mobile app launched this past year. Members now have the ability to view their equity through the app, update addresses and personal information, and view copies of their equity statements. While he said it's too early for any announcements, Iverson noted, the updated app will also a play a role in some of Sun Valley Co-op's plans for the future.
The past year was met with its share of challenges, however.
"Everything with inflation and everything else that's going on, people in general and businesses in general were faced with many different dynamics and were trying to figure out how to navigate that in the right way to succeed," said Iverson. "There's no doubt, because things are changing quickly, we are going to have to adapt accordingly. I keep shaking that crystal ball," he added with a chuckle, "but the one thing we do know is that we're going to continue to evolve and maintain relevancy."
Meantime, staff were busy getting back out into the community this past year, serving up food and drinks at some of our local celebrations.
After purchasing an events trailer in 2019, Iverson says they finally got to put it use, and have even expanded its offerings to include their barista service.
"Obviously, the previous years have been hard to get out. We wanted to double-down and be more visible because that is something that's missing in our communities today," he said. "It's getting harder to find volunteers. It's getting harder for groups and organizations to do what needs to be done so they can continue to operate. Our plan is to continue to push hard and work with those groups and organizations because we know that if our community is a success, so will we."
Up next, Iverson said they'll be rolling out a coffee cart that they can take to indoor events. It's already scheduled to be at a few events slated to happen at the Millenium Exhibition Centre in Altona.