Co-op members from Winkler and St. Joseph have voted in favor of amalgamating.
Winkler Co-op General Manager, Evan Toews says they began communicating with St. Joseph before 2020, and those conversations picked up steam within the last year.
Together with both boards, Toews said they decided it would be a very good fit to do business together, noting Winkler Co-op has already been doing the accounting for St. Joseph for a number of years, as well as delivering petroleum to their bulk petroleum division for the last couple of years.
"So, it really was a good and natural fit," said Toews. Winkler Co-op has three Ag sites, and the largest portion of the St. Joseph Co-op business is done in agro. "So to have those four agro sites in great locations was definitely part of the draw to amalgamate together."
Going forward, Toews said St. Joseph members will benefit from the longevity of an amalgamated Co-op that is diverse.
"Diversity in business has been extremely beneficial for us for a number of years. Obviously, not every sector of our business can do well all in the same year, but with that diversity, it has the ability to carry through good years and bad years alike. So really the consistency and the longevity of the business in St. Joseph is what they can look forward to, and we'll keep providing the great service and product and everything else that they've come to expect for years from St. Joseph Co-op."
Members from both locations voted last week, and members from both co-ops voted overwhelmingly in favor of the merger. Toews noted they require more than 66 % of votes to be in favor of amalgamation to go through, and they got well over that percentage in both locations.
Toews said Winkler Co-op's plans are to continue to run St. Joseph operations as they were, achieving a few efficiencies of scale. He said they will also use the new amalgamated Co-op for purchasing power, etcetera on the agriculture business.
The amalgamation will not see any services previously offered at St. Joseph terminated. Instead, Toews said they would rather work together, using the expertise both Co-ops offer in order to broaden their landscape.
- With files from Robyn Wiebe -