Editor’s note: Otter Co-op has issued the following letter to its membership.
Dear Valued Co-op Member,
I am writing you today to talk about your co-operative’s commitment to values and community, and to thank you being a member and supporter of Otter Co-op. It’s because of members and loyal customers like you that your co-operative has thrived for the past 95 years, and why we will continue to grow and invest in our community for many years to come.
While our long-term commitment to you and our community is unwavering, I don’t think anyone will disagree that we are living through a period of unprecedented change and challenge. This is certainly true for Otter Co-op as we work hard to understand better how to serve our members and customers in an increasingly competitive world.
These challenges are not made any easier when large corporate competitors do things that seriously erode everyone’s trust in businesses and how they conduct themselves. For example, Canada’s Competition Bureau has named a number of large companies headquartered in Central and Eastern Canada in an investigation into anti-competitive practices to fix the price of bread over the past 14 years. This news was disappointing to us; your co-operative is not under investigation, but I understand how allegations like this tend to paint all businesses with the same broad brush. That said, I can assure you that we have not participated in any such behavior.
I can make this statement confidently because of your co-operative’s unflinching commitment to our core values of Integrity, Community and Excellence. I know you understand that Otter Co-op has been committed to investing in our community since 1922, and that throughout our history we have shared our profits with you – our loyal members – by paying you cash back and equity through your annual patronage allocation. Over the past ten years alone Otter Co-op has paid back $45,504,167 in cash and equity to our members. We’re a different kind of business. We all share in the success of our co-operative. Profits are shared with you, our members and customers, not with a select group of investors or individuals. And because we’re rooted so firmly in the soil of our local communities your co-operative continues to invest locally in new facilities, good jobs and in support of local causes that matter to you.
Thank you again for your loyalty and for your business, today and into the future.
Jack Nicholson, Chief Executive Officer, Otter Farm & Home Co-operative, 3650 – 248 Street, Aldergrove